December Facts and Events

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DECEMBER
Facts about DECEMBER

December is the twelfth and last month of the year according to the Gregorian calendar. This is used used in almost all the world today. It was the tenth month in the early Roman calendar. It became the twelfth month in a later Roman calendar. Until 46 B.C., December only had 29 days. But the Roman statesman Julius Caesar added two days to December, which made it 31 days.

In the northern half of the world, Winter begins in December. Winter does not begin until December 21 or 22, and most of December is usually warmer than other winter months. The latter part of December has long been a holiday season. Christians celebrate Christmas Day, as the birthday of Jesus Christ.

In the Northern Hemisphere, most birds have gone to warmer climates. But many animals are active. Mink, ermine, beavers, and foxes grow beautiful coats of fur. Nature finishes preparing for the long winter ahead. Many people make feeding places for birds and squirrels.

New England observe December 21 as Forefathers' Day in honor of the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth on Dec. 21, 1620.

People in several European countries celebrate December 6 as the Feast of Saint Nicholas.

Christmas Day is celebrated on December 25 in many places, including the United States.

Some Christian churches observe the Feast of Saint Stephen on December 26, the Feast of Saint John the Evangelist on December 27, and Holy Innocents' Day on December 28.

POPULAR BELIEFS

A beautiful Bible story tells how the star of Bethlehem guided the wise men to the place where they found the Christ child. The star at the top of a Christmas tree symbolizes this star.

Christmas Traditions

Source: World Book Millenium 2000

  • The turquoise and zircon are the birthstones for December.

  • Holly, narcissus, and poinsetta are the flowers for the month of December.

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IMPORTANT DECEMBER EVENTSleaf



  • Iceland became a self-governing kingdom united with Denmark, December 1, 1918.
  • President James Monroe proclaimed the Monroe Doctrine in his message to Congress, December 2,1823.
    John Brown, American abolitionist, hanged at Charles Town, Va. (now W. Va.), December 2, 1859.
    Scientists achieved the first controlled atomic chain reaction, in Chicago, December 2, 1942.
  • Illinois admitted to the Union, December 3,1818.
    Novelist Joseph Conrad born December 3, 1857.
    Maria Callas, American-born opera singer, born December 3, 1923.
    First human heart transplant performed by Christiaan Barnard, South African surgeon, December 3, 1967.
  • Thomas Carlyle, Scottish author, born December 4, 1795.
  • Phi Beta Kappa, honorary scholastic society, founded at the College of William and Mary, December 5, 1776.
    Martin Van Buren, eighth President of the United States, born at Kinderhook, N.Y., December 5, 1782.
    Motion-picture producer Walt Disney born December 5, 1901.
    Amendment 21 to the United States Constitution, repealing prohibition, proclaimed, December 5, 1933.
  • Europeans celebrate the Feast of St. Nicholas December 6
    Columbus discovered Hispaniola, December 6, 1492.
    Dave Brubeck, American jazz pianist, born December 6, 1920.
  • Delaware ratified the Constitution, December 7, 1787.
    Japanese forces attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii in World War II, December 7, 1941.
  • Horace, Roman poet, born December 8, 65 B.C.
    Eli Whitney, inventor of toothed cotton gin, born December 8, 1765.
    Jan Sibelius, Finnish composer, born December 8, 1865.
    The American Federation of Labor organized, December 8, 1886.
    Chinese Nationalists flee the mainland, moving their capital to Formosa (today Taiwan), December 8, 1949.
    John Lennon shot and killed in New York City, December 8, 1980.
  • John Milton, English poet, born December 9, 1608.
    Joel Chandler Harris, American author of the "Uncle Remus" stories, born December 9, 1848.
  • William Lloyd Garrison, American journalist and abolitionist, born December 10, 1805.
    Mississippi admitted to the Union, December 10, 1817.
    Emily Dickinson, American poet, born December 10, 1830.
    The Territory of Wyoming authorized women to vote and hold office, December 10, 1869.
    Spain ceded Philippines to the United States, December 10, 1898.
  • Hector Berlioz, French composer, born December 11, 1803.
    Indiana admitted to the Union, December 11, 1816.
    Robert Koch, German bacteriologist, born December 11, 1843.
    Edward VIII of Great Britain abdicated, December 11,1936.
    Mrs. Wallis Simpson - Who was she?

  • John Jay, American diplomat, born December 12, 1745.
    Pennsylvania ratified the Constitution, December 12, 1787.
    Gustave Flaubert, French novelist, born December 12, 1821.
    Guglielmo Marconi received the first radio signal sent across the Atlantic Ocean, December 12. 1901.
  • The Council of Trent opened, December 13, 1545.
    Sir Francis Drake left England to sail around the world, attacking Spanish possessions, December 13, 1577.
  • Tycho Brahe, Danish astronomer, born December 14, 1546.
    George Washington died at Mt. Vernon, December 14, 1799.
    Alabama admitted to the Union, December 14, 1819.
    James Doolittle, American air pioneer and air force general, born December 14, 1896.
    Roald Amundsen, Norwegian explorer, reached the South Pole, December 14, 1911.
  • The first 10 amendments to the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, ratified, December 15, 1791.
    Maxwell Anderson, American playwright, born December 15, 1888.
  • English Parliament passed Bill of Rights, December 16,1689.
    Composer Ludwig van Beethoven born December 16, 1770.
    Boston Tea Party, December 16, 1773.
    Novelist Jane Austen born December 16, 1775.
    Jane Austen Information page

    Actor-playwright Sir Noel Coward born December 16, 1899.
    Margaret Mead, American anthropologist, born December 16, 1901.
    East Pakistan (today Bangladesh) achieved independence from West Pakistan (today Pakistan), December 16, 1971.
  • Sir Humphry Davy, English chemist, born December 17, 1778.
    John Greenleaf Whittier, American poet, born December 17, 1807.
    William Lyon Mackenzie King, three times prime minister of Canada, born December 17, 1874.
    Orville Wright made first heavier-than-air flight at Kitty Hawk, N.C., December 17, 1903.
    Willard Libby, American chemist, born December 17, 1908.
  • Charles Wesley, English clergyman and author of many hymns, born December 18, 1707.
    New Jersey ratified the Constitution, December 18, 1787.
    Amendment 13 to the U.S. Constitution, ending slavery, proclaimed, December 18, 1865.
    Christopher Fry, British playwright, born December 18, 1907.
  • Continental Army camped for the winter at Valley Forge, Pa., in the Revolutionary War, December 19, 1777.
  • The United States took over Louisiana, December 20, 1803.
  • The Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, Mass., December 21, 1620.
    Playwright Jean Baptiste Racine born December 21, 1639.
    Benjamin Disraeli, twice prime minister of Great Britain, born December 21, 1804.
    Joseph Stalin, Soviet dictator, born December 21, 1879.
  • James Oglethorpe, founder of Georgia, born December 22, 1696.
    Opera composer Giacomo Puccini born December 22, 1858.
  • Richard Arkwright, British inventor, born December 23, 1732.
    U.S. Federal Reserve System established, December 23, 1913.
  • "Kit" Carson, American frontier scout, born December 24, 1809.
    United States and Great Britain signed the Treaty of Ghent to end the War of 1812, December 24, 1814.
  • Christmas, celebrated by Christians as the birthday of Jesus Christ. December 25
    Isaac Newton, English scientist who discovered the law of gravitation, born December 25,1642.
    George Washington and his men started across the Delaware River to Trenton, N.J., December 25, 1776.
    Clara Barton, "Angel of the Battlefield" and founder of the American Red Cross, born December 25, 1821.
    The Biography of Clara Barton
  • Battle of Trenton in the Revolutionary War, December 26, 1776.
    George Dewey, American admiral, born December 26, 1837.
  • Johannes Kepler, German astronomer, born December 27,1571.
    Louis Pasteur, French chemist, born December 27, 1822.
    Sir Mackenzie Bowell, prime minister of Canada from 1894 to 1896, born December 27, 1823.
    Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan to crush a revolt against that country's Communist government, December 27, 1979.
  • Iowa admitted to the Union, December 28, 1846.
  • Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States, born at Staunton, Va.,December 29, 1856.
    Andrew Johnson, 17th President of the United States, born at Raleigh, N.C., December 29, 1808.
    William E. Gladstone, four-time prime minister of Great Britain, born December 29, 1809.
    Texas admitted to the Union, December 29, 1845.
  • The United States acquired territory from Mexico in the Gadsden Purchase, December 30, 1853.
    Rudyard Kipling, British writer, born December 30, 1865.
    Poetry of Rudyard Kipling
  • Andreas Vesalius, the first anatomist to describe the human body completely, born December 31, 1514.
    Henri Matisse, French painter, born December 31, 1869.

DECEMBER QUOTE

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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