Fall in love with everything January represents and discover some inspirational people who celebrated birthdays this month
If you have a birthday in January, especially one at the beginning of the month you will need those classic Capricorn traits of persistence and ambition in order to coax your friends out of their post-Christmas health kick (or cash-strapped hibernation) to celebrate with you. You may also need to tone down the equally typical-of-a-Capricorn sensitivity and ramp up the realism when they repeatedly ignore your WhatsApps about a big weekend away. Whether you manage to get enough friends and family on board for a January celebration or not, there is a lot to love about January.
It’s a month of optimism and hopefulness about the year to come, with the first snowdrops reminding us that spring is around corner and we won’t have to be damp, cold, pale and muddy for the rest of eternity. In January, the hedonism of December is (usually) swapped for a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle, with fewer hangovers, meat sweats or fevered cheese dreams.
We traditionally spend quite a lot of the month organising, clearing out and paring down (by which I mean overwhelming the charity shops with donations, so that they are forced to put signs outside begging us to stop). In painful management speak, January is the month we corral our ducks (who became very chaotic and end-of-term like in December) into something resembling a straight line. We buy wall planners, diaries and desk tidies and vow that this year we will not only be more organised - and write everything down somewhere sensible and not on the back of an envelope that we will promptly lose - but that we will also actually do the things on the list too.
Being born in January is a privilege. It is the pure, unfiltered ambition of a newly graduated intern, it is the promise of a book with a great cover that you haven’t opened yet, it is virgin snow before a dog wees on it. You may struggle to find anyone cheerful enough or rich enough to give your birthday the shindig it deserves but being a January baby is great and neither the terrible weather nor the desperate finances should make you think any differently!
The Lowdown on January
A Medieval cure for depression, a protection from bad dreams and a customary gift for a departing loved one to ensure a swift return, garnet is a stone with a rich and varied history.
Not only the birthstone for January, garnet is also a traditional gift for a 2nd or 18th wedding anniversary. It is one of the oldest known gemstones and artefacts decorated with it have been unearthed in Ancient Egyptian tombs.
The word “garnet” comes from the Latin word granatus, which means seed or grain and is probably a reference to pomegranate seeds, as many garnets bear more than a passing resemblance to them. Our pomegranate charm is a wonderful companion for a garnet, both aesthetically and in celebration of their entwined history.
Many cultures associate garnets with love and passion and also good luck and protection for travellers. However, our favourite belief about garnets hails from ancient Chinese culture, in which a garnet was the mineral expression of the soul of a tiger.
Garnet is also renowned for bringing about transformation, which makes garnet jewellery a pertinent gift for anyone in the process of making big life changes.
Birth Flower(s): Snowdrop and Carnation
Celtic Birth Tree(s): Birch and Rowan
Star Sign: Capricorn and Aquarius
Inspirational people who were born in January:
Joan of Arc (6th January 1412) – She only lived for 19 years, but Joan of Arc did a lot of ground-breaking stuff in a short time. At 13 she began to have visions of leading the French to victory over the English. When she was 16, she rejected an arranged marriage and, at 18, she oversaw troops and strategy in several military assaults on the English.
Joan was, quite frankly, too much for most 15th Century men and entirely too much for the English and English-sympathising French, who captured her in 1430 and accused of 70 crimes - including cross-dressing and witchcraft - and burned her at the stake in May 1431. She was later made a saint, but that probably did little to compensate for being barbequed as a teenager.
Simone de Beauvoir (9th January 1908) - Intellectual, philosopher, political activist, feminist, socialist, and social theorist, Simone de Beauvoir was smart, liberated creative whose seminal work, The Second Sex, articulated the injustice of treating women as outsiders to history. She was clever, fierce and funny and once said:
"Few tasks are more like the torture of Sisyphus than housework, with its endless repetition: the clean becomes soiled, the soiled is made clean, over and over, day after day. The housewife wears herself out marking time: she makes nothing, simply perpetuates the present … Eating, sleeping, cleaning – the years no longer rise up towards heaven, they lie spread out ahead, grey and identical. The battle against dust and dirt is never won."
If that doesn’t persuade you to make a new year’s resolution to do less cleaning in favour of reading, walking and learning new things, I don’t know what will!
Martin Luther King (15th January 1928) Champion of the civil rights movement in the US, ML-K was a baptist minister and activist best known for his iconic ‘I have a dream’ speech, delivered in 1963 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.
Bessie Coleman (26th January 1892) – Never heard of her? Nope, neither had we until we went looking for inspirational people with January birthdays. This determined aviator was the daughter of Texan sharecroppers and had to learn French and travel to post-war France to find someone willing to teach a black Cherokee woman how to fly a plane.
She learnt to fly in a 27ft long bi-plane that was notorious for stalling in mid-air. She even watched a classmate plummet to their death during her training, but she didn’t lose her nerve and, after seven months of training she became the first African American woman and the first Native American woman in the world to earn a pilot’s license.