Roman Gods, January, and Janitors

by Steve Ray on December 28, 2004

Note: Since my secular business — which keeps the rent paid and food on the table — is Distinctive Maintenance Inc., I thought I would share this interesting article I wrote for my company’s January newsletter.

January is a Good Time to Talk about Janitors?

What is a janitor?  Is it just someone who sweeps and mops?  No, there is much more to it than that!  Well then, what does the word janitor mean?  January is an excellent time of year to find out.  The word and occupation have a long history with a very noble beginning? 
 
In Roman mythology–which was all the rage 2,000 years ago–there was a special god in charge of doors and gates.  His name was Janus and his temple in the Roman Forum had doors facing east and west to watch the beginning and ending of each day.  His statue stood between the doors and had two faces, gazing in opposite directions.  He guarded the going out and the coming in, the beginning and the end.  He protected the gates of the kingdom and doors of the royal treasury.  He had two faces so he could see in front and behind.  To guard well he had to see in all directions.

So, why do you think we are named after Janus?  Because janitors protect the customers’ property. We watch their doors.  We guard their offices and protect their health.  We do the work of Janus.

But why is this a good time of year to talk about Janus and janitors?  Think about the first month of the year, the opening month–the doorway into a new year!  Where do you think January got its name?

You guessed it! January comes from the word Janus too!  Since January is the opening of the new year, it is named after the mythical god of beginnings.  And according to Roman mythology, a good beginning insures a good ending.  So Janus looks behind and ahead.  As janitors we are there at the end of the day to insure a good beginning of the next day. We guard the opening and closing of the day for our customers.

As we stand in the cold month of January looking forward to the new year we will continue guarding our customers’s property and protecting their interests.  It is a noble profession and a noble calling!  Happy New Year!

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