January is named after Janus, the Roman God of beginnings, gates and doorways. Janus has a face, on the front and the back of his head, seeing into the future and into the past. The first month of the Julian calendar was dedicated to him as this was the beginning of the new year. The custom of exchanging small gifts developed, the most popular gift to be given was a small lamp, to light your way through the new year! The reign of Janus was said to be a golden age, so let 2017 be a time of peace and plenty.
Image credit – British Museum