11 Riveting Facts You Need To Know About December

December is the 12th and the last month of the Gregorian calendar and the 10th month of the Roman calendar. It is a month characterized by change and transition – a time to say goodbye to the past and hello to new beginnings.

Amidst the extreme seasons, people on both hemispheres of the world gear up to celebrate the holiday season, spend time with their families and prepare for the start of a new and fresh year of their lives.

Indeed, December is a month that holds tremendous importance both in history and in multiple religions. If you, too, find yourself intrigued by the uniqueness of this month, you’ve come to the right place. Here we will be going over some of the most fascinating yet mind-boggling December facts.

1. December Used To Have Only 29 Days

Back until 153 BC, the Roman calendar only comprised 10 months – it began with the month of March and ended with the month of December.

Since the winter period was an extremely slow time for the military, agriculture, and civil life, these months were not assigned any month initially. During this era, December only comprised 30 days. However, with time and progress, around 700 BC, people felt the need to add two more months, January and February, to the calendar.

Due to this addition, the number of days in December was reduced to 29. Soon after, in the subsequent Julian calendar, two more days were added once again, making December 31st days long as we know it now.

2. Sagittarius and Capricorn Are the Zodiac Signs for December

Sagittarius – The Zodiac Sign of December

The zodiac sign, Sagittarius, governs people born between November 22nd and December 21st. In contrast, those born between December 22nd and January 19th are ruled by Capricorn.

The last fire sign of the zodiac and denoted by an archer, Sagittarius borns are individuals with a hunger for knowledge. They dedicate their lives to pursuing intellect and partaking in geographical and spiritual adventures.

While Capricorn is the last Earth sign of the zodiac and is represented by the sea goat – a mythological creature with the body of a goat and tail of a fish. To a Capricorn, nothing is more valuable than the resource of time. They are aware that the only way up the ladder of life is through patience, perseverance, and dedication.

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3. The Birthstone for the Month of December Is Turquoise

Cherished for millennia and adorned by the Pharaohs of Egypt, Turquoise is a semi-translucent stone with colors ranging from bright blue to bluish-green. In the past, this stone was believed to possess supernatural powers that could guarantee one’s good health and fortune.

Even today, many mystics in India claim that seeing a turquoise after beholding a new moon indicates fantastic wealth.

4. Two Birth Flowers represent December

Narcissus – Birth flower of December

December is often associated with two flowers; Holly and Narcissus. Often called the ‘Christ’s Thorn,’ the Holly flower has symbolized the Christian tradition of Christmas since medieval times. Due to its sharp, thorn-like appearance and structure, the flower also symbolizes defense and the wish for domestic happiness.

While there are many types of flowers in the genus ‘Narcissus,’ the Paper White has the winter growing variety of this plant, mostly seen around December. This flower symbolizes the prayer for our loved ones to stay exactly as they are. Narcissus is also known to represent new beginnings and rebirth.

5. Saint Nicholas Day is Celebrated In December

Saint Nicholas, a 4th-century Bishop of Myra, was praised for his generosity, integrity, and piousness. During his life, he was labeled as Nicholas the Wonderworkers due to the many miracles attributed to his intercession.

Today, he is known as the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, children, students, brewers, and unmarried peoples across the different cities of Europe. From hiding stockings to filling shoes with sweets, his memory has given rise to many traditions across the globe, all of which are celebrated on December 6th.

6. National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day is celebrated in December

On December 7th, 1941, 2403 civilians and service members lost their lives when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. An additional 1.178 people were badly injured during this attack which permanently sank to major US Navy battleships.

Each year on the same date, survivors, family members, and relatives of the deceased and visitors from across the world honor and celebrate the lives lost on that unfortunate day.

7. St. Lucia’s Day Comes to Pass in December

St. Lucia was one of the earliest Christian martyrs assassinated by the Romans in 304 CE due to her potent religious beliefs.

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Today, Norway, Sweden, and some areas of Finland celebrate St. Lucia’s day on December 13th to honor her memory.

This event is called ‘the festival of lights’ and begins with a massive procession led by St. Lucia’s designee, followed by little girls wearing white-colored dresses with wreaths wrapped around their heads and boys dressed in pajama-like costumes.

The procession sings traditional songs as they pass along the streets with families viewing them from their houses. It marks the beginning of Christmas for many countries.

8. Winter Solstice Happens During December

The winter or hibernal solstice is celebrated on December 22nd and marks the beginning of winter in the Northern hemisphere and summer in the Southern hemisphere.

On this date, the poles of the Earth are at their maximum tilt away from the sun resulting in a day with the shortest period of daylight and the longest night.

During the day, when the sun reaches its lowest point of elevation, either pole experience a brief period of twilight or complete darkness.

9. December Brings the Joy of Christmas

A decorated and lit up Christmas tree

December 25th marks Christmas day, the annual festival that commemorates the birth and arrival of Jesus Christ. The New Testament – Nativity of Jesus states that Christ was born when Joseph and Mary arrived in the city of Bethlehem.

Since their own inn had no rooms, they were offered a stable where the birth of Christ occurred, with angels speedily proclaiming the news to shepherds who then spread the word.

In the past, there have been many discrepancies when it comes to Christ’s real birthdate, but now December 25th has become the universally accepted one.

Different cultures celebrate Christmas with different traditions. Some of the most common ones are gift-giving, completing an advent calendar, singing Christmas carols, viewing a Nativity play, and decorating homes with Christmas trees, lights, garlands, wreaths, holly, and mistletoe.

10. Boxing Day Also Comes To Pass In December

Immediately after Christmas day, December 26th is celebrated as Boxing Day – a day when traditionally servants, tradespeople, and the poor were presented with gifts. However, in the modern era, this day has become associated with massive shopping sprees. It also marks the first day of Kwanzaa week in many places.

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11. Many Fun Days Are Celebrated In December

Multiple fun days and events also come to pass during the month of December, some of which include:

  • International Mountain Day is celebrated on December 11th 
  • National Violin Day is celebrated on December 13th 
  • National Day of Horse is celebrated on December 13th 
  • Underdog Day is celebrated on December 20th 
  • National Candy Cane Day is celebrated on December 26th 

This Month in History- December

If your cravings for information have still not been curbed, visit the link below to watch an interesting video regarding the history of the month of December.

Summary

It’s safe to say that December is perhaps of the happiest yet somewhat saddest months of the year. While we utilize this month to spend quality time with our families and relatives, we also close the book of the past, bidding farewell to the year before us.

It is a time that brings into perspective what is important and what isn’t, reminding us yet again that change is an inherent part of life.

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Image Credits

“Zodiac sign of SAGITTARIUS in a 9th century manuscript” by Virtual Manuscript Library of Switzerland is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

“Narcissus-flowered Anemone – Anemone narcissiflora” by Björn S… is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

“christmas tree” by fsse8info is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.