New Year's Day. In most parts of America New- Year's Day, like New-Year's Eve, is celebrated with great festivity; while social enjoyment and friendly congratulations appear to be the order of the day. In England, the Wassail Bowl is carried from door to door, in the manner of our Saxon ancestors, with singing and merriment. According to Brand, who quotes Thomas de la Moore and old Havillan, the terms was-haile and drinc-heil were the usual phrases of quaffing among the early English, and synonymous with the toast - " Come, here's to you," " I'11 pledge you," etc.
The most perfect fragment of the "wassail" exists in the usage of certain domestic banquets and corporation festivals. The person presiding stands up at the conclusion of the dinner, and drinks from a flagon, usually of silver, with a handle on each side, by which he holds it; and the toast-maker announces him as drinking " the health of his brethren out of the "loving cup." This cup, which is the ancient wassail bowl, is then passed to the guest on his left hand, and by him to his next left-hand neighbour; and as the loving cup thus passes round to all the guests in their turn, so each stands up and drinks to the president. The ceremony was formerly accompanied with a wassail song Here's to----, let sadness disappear,
God send our master a happy new year A happy new year, as e'er he did see With my wassailing bowl 1 drink to thee," etc.
Twelfth Day, or Epiphany, which falls on the 6th January, or the twelfth from Christmas-day, is usually kept up with great spirit in family parties, as it is usually presumed that with this night the general Christmas festivities are terminated.
" The bean found out, and monarch crown'd, He dubs a tool and sends him round To raise the frolic when its low - Himself commands the wine to flow; Each watches for the king to quaff, When all at once, upspringfl the laugh; They cry, 'the king crinks!' and away They shout a long and loud huzza!"
Of the distinguished individuals born in the month of January, we subjoin the following: JOaN of Arc, commonly called "the Maid of Orleans," was born of humble parents at Domremi, a village on the borders of Loraine, in 1402; but by her extraordinary talents and enthusiastic courage she was enabled to take the command of the French forces, and repeatedly defeated the English armies, which had previously been considered as invincible. After repeated victories she was at length taken prisoner in a sally, and cruelly burnt alive by the English, on the charge of sorcery, in the twenty-ninth year of her age.
Charles I. of England is generally styled "the Martyr," from the melancholy end of his political career. He was the second son of James VI of Scotland and I. of England, by Anne, daughter of the King of Denmark. On the death of his father, in 1612, he ascended the British throne; but his reign was a series of contests with the Parliament of England, until at length his regal authority was entirely overthrown, when he was condemned to death, and executed at Whitehall, on the 30th of January, 1649.
Copernicus was one of the most celebrated mathematicians and astronomers of the age in which he lived. He was born at Thorn, in Prussia, in 1473, and died in 1543. His greatest work was a Latin treatise "On the Revolutions of the Celestial Orbs," in which, though strongly opposed to the prejudices of the age, he represented the sun as occupying a centre, round which the earth and the other planets revolve.