by Roger Chambers
Holidays and Observances for January
After the hustle, bustle, and often over indulgence of the holiday season, the reality of several more weeks of cold and snow settles in. January begins with New Year’s resolutions that are often broken before the month is even over.
January can indeed be cold and snowy, with temperatures at times well below 0°F, occasional strong winds making the cold even more bitter. Bundling up with winter coat, hat and gloves is the norm, and if outdoors for longer periods, long underwear can help keep one warm.
The snow occasionally makes roads quite dangerous, to nearly impossible at times, and extra time should be added for the commute to work or school. Greater care and caution are needed when driving to avoid accidents and when walking or shoveling the white stuff to avoid falling on slippery walks and parking lots.
After the New Year’s Day feasts and football, the other major holiday of the month is Martin Luther King Day on the third Monday of January. There are usually special dinners and forums held and quite often a procession through parts of the city despite the snow and cold, followed by an ecumenical church service in honor of his vision and the continuing struggle against racism and civil rights for ALL Americans.
January 1 New Year’s Day
January 6 Epiphany,
Twelfth Night; Three Kings Day, Puerto Rico; Coptic Christmas
January 7 Orthodox Christmas
January 13 Stephen Foster
January 16 Religious Freedom Day
January 19 Robert E. Lee’s Birthday
January 19 National Sanctity of Human Life Day (Third Monday)
January 20 Martin Luther King, Jr. Jr. Day (Third Monday)
There are many things to do in the winter time to help prevent a sense of depression that comes to many during the short daylight hours and the cold blustery weather. While some people really hate the snow and cold, getting outside on an occasionally sunny day is really good for the spirits. For the active and ambitious, there are many outdoor activities one can participate in such as skiing, sledding, tobogganing, snow shoeing, ice skating and snowmobiling. For the adventurous who really like the cold, winter camping and ice fishing have a few diehard fans.
Many of these activities are geared more towards small groups or individuals, though if one doe go alone, safety can be an issue and be sure to let someone know where you will be and when you are expected back. Larger snow festivals with group activities, ice or snow sculpture contests and maybe skiing or snowmobile races usually occur later in February.
For those who despise the cold and snow, indoor activities abound. Utica Comets or Utica College Pioneers ice hockey is a big draw most weekends. High schools and area colleges have basketball games and special gymnastic competitions.
Musical concerts and performances are also popular, with many night clubs and bars having live music on weekends. And there are numerous other concerts of classical music at Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute and other venues, or jazz at the Other Side, or folk at the Kirkland Arts Center in Clinton or Unity Hall in Barneveld, or in Holland Patent or Remsen.
Those who enjoy live theater of comedy, drama, or musicals have many options as well. Most high schools put on at least one production during the winter season. There are large productions at the Stanley Theater, and this area is home to local theater companies: Players of Utica, Rome Community Theater, and the Stables in Ilion. These three organizations perform several plays a year, usually on two consecutive weekends, providing a wide variety of entertainment from classic plays to more modern lesser known comedies and dramas.
So for January, try to keep those New Year’s Resolutions for more than a few days, get out on a nice day and get some badly lacking in winter time Vitamin D from the sun, and try to check out at least one indoor sporting, music event or theater production. Happy New Year!
In the Night Skies
First Quarter Moon January 2
Full Wolf Moon January 10
Last Quarter January 17
New Moon January 24
Rising & Setting Times of the Sun, Moon and Visible Planets on January 21, 2020
Sunrise 7:25 a.m. Sunset 4:59 a.m.
Moonrise 4:41a.m. southeast Moonset 2:06p.m. southwest
Moon between Last Quarter & New
Mercury Sets 5:29 p.m. southwest
Venus Sets 8:15 p.m. southwest
Mars Rises 4:09a.m.
Jupiter Rises 6:18a.m.
Saturn Rises 7:04 a.m.
Venus is a brilliant evening star in the western sky all month. Mars rises before sunrise this month, on the 20th of January forming a triangle with the orange star Antares and the waning crescent Moon. By the end of the month, Jupiter rises shortly before sunrise. On the 27th, the waxing crescent Moon is below Venus in the western sky and then to its left on the 28th.