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December - Trivia & Fun Facts

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December History

Now You Know...

Birthstone:
Turquoise
Flower:
Paper White Narcissus, Holly or Poinsettia
Astrological Signs:
Sagittarius:
November 22 - December 21
Capricorn:
December 22 - January 19

 

Spanish: diciembre
Italian: Dicembre
French: décembre
German: Dezember
Polish: Grudnia
Latin: December

More December lore: here

December is the twelfth and final month of the Gregorian calendar and the first month of winter. It derives it's name from the Latin word decem, meaning ten, as December was the tenth month of the oldest Roman calendar. The Latin name is derived from Decima, the middle Goddess of the Three Fates who personifies the present.

December was originally the 10th month in the Roman calendar. The period of January and February didn't really count as months, and the Roman calendar was based on a 304 day year, based on the approximate lunar month of 29 1/2 days.

The inventor of the 304 day calendar was Romulus, twin brother of Remus - the same Romulus and Remus who founded Rome aroung 800 B.C.

About December

The Winter Solstice, also known as Midwinter, occurs around December 21 or 22 each year in the Northern hemisphere, and June 20 or 21 in the Southern Hemisphere. It occurs on the shortest day or longest night of the year, sometimes said to astronomically mark the beginning or middle of a hemisphere's winter.

The word solstice derives from Latin, Winter Solstice meaning Sun set still in winter. Worldwide, interpretation of the event varies from culture to culture, but most hold a recognition of rebirth, involving festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations. Many cultures celebrate or celebrated a holiday near the winter solstice; examples of these include Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Years, Pongal, Yalda and many other festivals of light.

The solstice itself may have remained a special moment of the annual cycle of the year since neolithic times. This is attested by physical remains in the layouts of late Neolithic and Bronze Age archeological sites like Stonehenge and New Grange in the British Isles. The primary axes of both of these monuments seem to have been carefully aligned on a sight-line framing the winter solstice sunrise (New Grange) and the winter solstice sunset (Stonehenge). The winter solstice may have been immensely important because communities were not assured to live through the winter, and had to be prepared during the previous nine months.

Starvation was common in winter between January to April, also known as the famine months. In temperate climes, the midwinter festival was the last feast celebration, before deep winter began. Most cattle were slaughtered so they would not have to be fed during the winter, so it was nearly the only time of year when a supply of fresh meat was available. The majority of wine and beer made during the year was finally fermented and ready for drinking at this time. The concentration of the observances were not always on the day commencing at midnight or at dawn, but the beginning of the pre-Romanized day, which falls on the previous eve.
-Wikipedia

"The Holly King, represents the Death aspect of the God at this time of year; and the Oak King, represents the opposite aspect of Rebirth (these roles are reversed at Midsummer). This can be likened to the Divine Child's birth. The myth of the Holly King/Oak King probably originated from the Druids to whom these two trees were highly sacred.

The Oak King (God of the Waxing Year) kills the Holly King (God of the Waning Year) at Yule (the Winter Solstice). The Oak King then reigns supreme until Litha (the Summer Solstice) when the two battle again, this time with the Holly King victorious. Examples of the Holly King's image can be seen in our modern Santa Claus."

Spanish: diciembre
Italian: Dicembre
French: décembre
German: Dezember
Polish: Grudnia
Latin: December
 

December Quotes

"I heard a bird sing in the dark of December
A magical thing and sweet to remember.
'We are nearer to Spring than we were in September,'
I heard a bird sing in the dark of December."
- Oliver Herford, I Heard a Bird Sing

"How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?"
- Dr. Seuss

"A long December and there's reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can't remember the last thing that you said as you were leavin'
Now the days go by so fast"
- Counting Crows, A Long December

"My favorite traditional Christmas movie that I like to watch is All Quiet on the Western Front. It's just not December without that movie in my house."
- Tom Hanks

"God gave us our memories so that we might have roses in December."
- J. M. Barrie

"As we struggle with shopping lists and invitations, compounded by december's bad weather, it is good to be reminded that there are people in our lives who are worth this aggravation, and people to whom we are worth the same."
- Donald E. Westlake

"Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly, I wished the morrow; vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Leonore -
For the rare and radiant maiden who the angels name Lenore -
Nameless here for evermore."
- Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven

Its too early. I never eat december snowflakes. I always wait until January.
- Lucy

"All the leaves are brown and the sky is grey
I went for a walk on a winter's day
I'd be safe and warm
If I was in L.A. California dreamin'
On such a winter's day."
- Mammas and Pappas, California Dreamin

"The gardening season officially begins on January 1st, and ends on December 31."
- Marie Huston

 

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