Seasonal Advice for January: Recipes, Gardening, Folklore

frosty forest

Frosty forest, winter, trees, snow

Donna Palmlund

Welcome January 2017 and the new year! Enjoy our January page with important holidays, seasonal, recipes, gardening tips, Moon dates, folklore, and more.

The new year opens—old is past,
Stern winter comes with its rough blast:
See the farmer shivering with cold,
Driving his flocks and herds to fold.

—The 1793 Old Farmer’s Almanac

January Calendar

JANUARY rings in the new year. May we all look back to count our blessings and look forward to good weather, good plantings, good health, and new beginnings in 2017!

January is named for the Roman god Janus, protector of gates and doorways. Janus is depicted with two faces, one looking into the past, the other into the future.

January was originally the eleventh month, not the first, until at least 153 B.C.


January 1 is New Year’s Day. While you’re still recuperating from last night’s parties, read about some other new year’s traditions you might not know about.

The eve of January 5 brings Twelfth Night, an English folk custom the end of Christmas merrymaking, and in ancient Celtic tradition the end of the 12-day winter solstice celebration. On Twelfth Night, it was customary for the assembled company to toast each other from the wassail bowl.

On January 6 falls Epiphany. According to the New Testament’s Gospels, on this date the Magi, the three wise men or kings, venerated and brought gifts to the infant Jesus. Bake a King Cake with a lucky bean inside!

January 16 is Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday (observed) this year and honors the principles of this civil rights leader and Nobel Prize Winner dedicated to nonviolence.

On the 17th is Benjamin Franklin’s birthday. He was not only was a world-renowned statesman, inventor, and scientist, but also was fascinated by agriculture. Here at the OFA, we consider him the father of almanacs. See how much you know about Ben.

Recipes for the Season

In the month of January, stay warm and cozy with soups and stews!

Italian Vegetable Soup
Bonnie’s Winter Stew

See more Best Soup and Stew Recipes.



Ready to start a garden? Grow some deliciously fresh food right in your backyard?

It’s easy and fun to lay out your garden with the Almanac Garden Planner.

For 7 days, you can try the Garden Planner for free.

Everyday Advice

Sky Watch

January’s full Moon, the Full Wolf Moon, occurs on the 12th, at 6:34 a.m. EST. Read about the full Wolf Moon here!

The dark January skies are great for stargazing. Get the highlights in our January Sky Watch.


January Birthstone and Flower


January Folklore

  • Fog in January brings a wet spring.
  • A favorable January brings us a good year.
  • If grass grows in January, it will grow badly the whole year.
  • A summerish January, 
    a winterish spring. 

Reader Comments

Leave a Comment

I'd like to know what to look

I'd like to know what to look under to see what days of each month thats good to cut hair so it will grow.

See our Best Days timetable

See our Best Days timetable for best days to cut hair to encourage growth here:

How do I find the sign, like

How do I find the sign, like when it is in head, feet, etc?

Kathy, See our Man of the

Kathy, See our Man of the Signs here:
Find more information in the annual printed edition of The Old Farmer's Almanac.

If inanimate objects are

If inanimate objects are immune to wind chill, then why do bridges freeze over easier than the pavement that is over earth

The bridge freezes before the

The bridge freezes before the road because of what is called thermal inertia. The ground under the road constitutes a large mass that does not cool as fast as the air surrounding the bridge.

Ok - here is what I was told

Ok - here is what I was told when I asked my geology prof in college that same question. Because while in the summer pavement is a source of radiant heat, in the winter when you get below the frost line the ground is still above freezing. It holds heat better than asphalt or concrete because it is thicker. That is also why the ground around culverts freezes quicker. (:

Actually, bridges are not

Actually, bridges are not inanimate. They are build to give, move when they bare weight. They are also usually either over a pocket of air, or body of water and that would also add to their ability to freeze. Also, Water freezes on any surface it lands on.