Daily Calendar for Monday, January 1, 2024

According to Scottish custom, the first Monday of the new year was the time to give children and servants a small gift, or handsel. Literally something given into the hands of someone else, the gift itself was less important than the good luck it signified. The handsel was popular as a new year’s gift from the 14th to 19th centuries, but it also had a broader application to mark any new situation. It continues today in the form of a housewarming gift to someone moving into a new home.

It’s a Leap Year! Here are the rules for leap year, just to set the record straight. A year is a leap year if it is divisible by 4, but century years are not leap years unless they are divisible by 400. A person born today is called a leapling. And always remember this: Leap year was ne’er a good sheep year.”

See our Leap Year page for more facts, folklore, and fun!”

Question of the Day

When did ancient cultures celebrate the new year?
* In ancient Egypt, the new year was celebrated when the star Sirius rose around the time of sunrise. This roughly coincided with the summer solstice and the annual flooding of the Nile River.
* The original Roman calendar contained only ten months, with the new year starting on March 1.
* The ancient Celts celebrated the new year (Samhain) beginning at dusk on October 31.

Advice of the Day

The month of January is like a gentleman; as he begins, so he goes on.

Home Hint of the Day

Soak tarnished silverware in sour milk for half an hour. Then wash in soapy water to polish and brighten.

Word of the Day

A fore tooth of a horse. The nippers are four in number.

Puzzle of the Day

Why do birds fly south in the winter?
Because it is too far to walk.


  • Paul Revere (patriot) –
  • Betsy Ross (patriot) –
  • E.M. Forster (novelist) –
  • J. Edgar Hoover (director of U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation) –
  • Hank Greenberg (baseball player) –
  • J.D. Salinger (author) –
  • Carole Landis (actress) –
  • Terry Moore (actress) –
  • Don Novello (actor) –
  • Kathleen Casey-Kirschling (official first baby boomer in United States) –
  • Nancy Lopez (golfer) –


  • Johann Christian Bach (composer) –
  • Maurice Chevalier –
  • Ray Walston (actor) –
  • Julia Phillips (first woman to win an Oscar Award [for co-producing the movie The Sting”]”) –
  • Shirley Chisholm (an advocate for minority rights who became the first black woman elected to Congress) –
  • Patti Page (singer) –
  • Donna Douglas (actress) –


  • First U.S. flag, The Grand Union, was displayed by George Washington; it became the unofficial national flag, preceding the 13-star, 13 stripe version–
  • Legislative Union of Great Britain with Ireland under the name of United Kingdom became effective–
  • President John Adams held the first New Year’s reception in the White House–
  • Importation of enslaved people into the U.S. officially banned –
  • First recorded ten-pin bowling match played at Knickerbocker Alleys, NYC–
  • The Emancipation Proclamation became law, marking the end of legalized slavery in the U.S.–
  • State of New York introduced the electric chair for capital punishment–
  • The U.S. government opened an immigrant processing station at Ellis Island, New York–
  • First Rose Bowl football game played at Pasadena, California–
  • U.S. Parcel Post service began–
  • The British battleship Formidable was sunk in the English Channel by a German submarine with the loss of 600 lives (WW I)–
  • Fiorello La Guardia is inaugurated as mayor of New York–
  • The U.S. Navy commissioned its first woman doctor, Mary Sproul–
  • Kurt Waldheim inaugurated as Secretary General of the United Nations–
  • John Ehrlichman, H.R. Haldeman, and John Mitchell were found guilty of obstructing justice in the Watergate Incident–
  • Episcopal Church of the U.S. ordained its first woman priest–
  • American Telephone & Telegraph Co. officially divested itself of 22 Bell System subsidiaries–
  • First U.S. electronic highway toll collection, in Oklahoma–
  • The Coney Island Polar Bear Club observed its 100th anniversary the same way it celebrated the previous 99—with a New Year’s Day plunge in the Atlantic Ocean–
  • A strong earthquake rocked Mexico City and Acapulco–
  • New England Patriots quarterback Doug Flutie converted the first successful drop kick in an NFL game since 1941–
  • Twelve-year-old Aidan Murray Medley caught a 551-pound bull shark just north of Palm Beach Inlet, Florida–


  • Twenty-four degrees below zero F in Northfield, Vermont–
  • Bethlehem, New Hampshire, recorded a temperature of -20 degrees F–
  • VanBuren, Maine, recorded a temperature of -32 degrees F–
  • Six day Great Plains and N. Rockies blizzard began, most adverse conditions in history of west–
  • Maybell, Colorado, set a record low temperature of -60 degrees F–

Explore Other Dates on the Calendar