December

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December is the twelfth and final month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars. It is also the last of seven months to have a length of 31 days.

Contents

December, from the Tres Riches Heures du duc de Berry Les Tres Riches Heures du duc de Berry decembre.jpg
December, from the Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry

December got its name from the Latin word decem (meaning ten) because it was originally the tenth month of the year in the calendar of Romulus c.750 BC which began in March. The winter days following December were not included as part of any month. Later, the months of January and February were created out of the monthless period and added to the beginning of the calendar, but December retained its name. [1]

In Ancient Rome, as one of the four Agonalia, this day in honor of Sol Indiges was held on December 11, as was Septimontium. Dies natalis (birthday) was held at the temple of Tellus on December 13, Consualia was held on December 15, Saturnalia was held December 17–23, Opiconsivia was held on December 19, Divalia was held on December 21, Larentalia was held on December 23, and the dies natalis of Sol Invictus was held on December 25. These dates do not correspond to the modern Gregorian calendar.

The Anglo-Saxons referred to December–January as Ġēolamonaþ (modern English: "Yule month"). The French Republican Calendar contained December within the months of Frimaire and Nivôse.

Astronomy

Month December depicted in Hans Bol's and Adriaen Collart's Emblematica Evangelica. Hans Bol - Adriaen Collaert - Emblemata evangelica - Erfgoedfonds Koning Boudewijnstichting - Fonds du Patrimoine Fondation Roi Baudouin - 12.jpg
Month December depicted in Hans Bol's and Adriaen Collart's Emblematica Evangelica.

December contains the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the day with the fewest daylight hours, and the summer solstice in the Southern Hemisphere, the day with the most daylight hours (excluding polar regions in both cases). December in the Northern Hemisphere is the seasonal equivalent to June in the Southern Hemisphere and vice versa. In the Northern hemisphere, the beginning of the astronomical winter is traditionally 21 December or the date of the solstice.

Meteor showers occurring in December are the Andromedids (September 25 – December 6, peaking around November 9), the Canis-Minorids (December 4 – December 15, peaking around December 10–11), the Coma Berenicids (December 12 to December 23, peaking around December 16), the Delta Cancrids (December 14 to February 14, the main shower from January 1 to January 24, peaking on January 17), the Geminids (December 13–14), the Monocerotids (December 7 to December 20, peaking on December 9. This shower can also start in November), the Phoenicids (November 29 to December 9, with a peak occurring around 5/6 December), the Quadrantids (typically a January shower but can also start in December), the Sigma Hydrids (December 4–15), and the Ursids (December 17-to December 25/26, peaking around December 22).

Astrology

December symbols

Observances

A Christmas tree at the Eaton Centre in Toronto. Eaton Centre Christmas Tree.JPG
A Christmas tree at the Eaton Centre in Toronto.

This list does not necessarily imply either official status or general observance.

Non-Gregorian observances: 2020 dates

(All Baha'i, Islamic, and Jewish observances begin at the sundown prior to the date listed, and end at sundown of the date in question unless otherwise noted.)

Month-long observances

Movable observances: 2020 dates

Tuesday immediately following fourth Thursday of November: December 1

First Friday: December 4

First Sunday: December 6

Second Monday: December 14

December 15, unless the date falls on a Sunday, then December 16: December 15

Winter Solstice: December 21

December 22, unless that date is a Sunday, in which case it's moved to the 23rd: December 22

December 26, unless that day is a Sunday, in which case the 27th: December 26

Fixed observances

A Christmas market in Dresden Weihnachtsmarktindresden.jpg
A Christmas market in Dresden

Related Research Articles

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August is the eighth month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars, and the fifth of seven months to have a length of 31 days. It was originally named Sextilis in Latin because it was the sixth month in the original ten-month Roman calendar under Romulus in 753 BC, with March being the first month of the year. About 700 BC, it became the eighth month when January and February were added to the year before March by King Numa Pompilius, who also gave it 29 days. Julius Caesar added two days when he created the Julian calendar in 46 BC, giving it its modern length of 31 days. In 8 BC, it was renamed in honor of Augustus. According to a Senatus consultum quoted by Macrobius, he chose this month because it was the time of several of his great triumphs, including the conquest of Egypt.

February is the second month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars, with 28 days in common years and 29 days in leap years, with the quadrennial 29th day being called the leap day. It is the first of five months to have fewer than 31 days and the only one to have fewer than 30 days. The other seven months have 31 days. February starts on the same day of the week as March and November in common years and August in leap years. It ends on the same day of the week as October in all years. In leap years preceding common years or common years preceding leap years, it begins on the same day of the week as May of the following year and ends on the same day of the week as April of the following year. In common years preceding common years, it begins on the same day of the week as August of the following year and ends on the same day of the week as July of the following year. It also begins on the same day of the week as June of the previous year and ends on the same day of the week as August and November of the previous year. In 2020, February had 29 days.

A holiday is a day set aside by custom or by law on which normal activities, especially business or work including school, are suspended or reduced. Generally, holidays are intended to allow individuals to celebrate or commemorate an event or tradition of cultural or religious significance. Holidays may be designated by governments, religious institutions, or other groups or organizations. The degree to which normal activities are reduced by a holiday may depend on local laws, customs, the type of job held or personal choices.

January is the first month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars and the first of seven months to have a length of 31 days. The first day of the month is known as New Year's Day. It is, on average, the coldest month of the year within most of the Northern Hemisphere and the warmest month of the year within most of the Southern Hemisphere. In the Southern hemisphere, January is the seasonal equivalent of July in the Northern hemisphere and vice versa.

June Sixth month in the Julian and Gregorian calendars

June is the sixth month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars, the second of four months to have a length of 30 days, and the third of five months to have a length of less than 31 days. June contains the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the day with the most daylight hours, and the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere, the day with the fewest daylight hours. June in the Northern Hemisphere is the seasonal equivalent to December in the Southern Hemisphere and vice versa. In the Northern Hemisphere, the beginning of the traditional astronomical summer is 21 June. In the Southern Hemisphere, meteorological winter begins on 1 June.

July Seventh month in the Julian and Gregorian calendars

July is the seventh month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars and the fourth of seven months to have a length of 31 days. It was named by the Roman Senate in honour of Roman general Julius Caesar, it being the month of his birth. Prior to that, it was called Quintilis, being the fifth month of the 10-month calendar.

March is the third month of the year and named after Mars in both the Julian and Gregorian calendars. It is the second of seven months to have a length of 31 days. In the Northern Hemisphere, the meteorological beginning of spring occurs on the first day of March. The March equinox on the 20 or 21 marks the astronomical beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the beginning of autumn in the Southern Hemisphere, where September is the seasonal equivalent of the Northern Hemisphere's March.

May Fifth month in the Julian and Gregorian calendars

May is the fifth month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars and the third of seven months to have a length of 31 days.

November is the eleventh month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars, the fourth and last of four months to have a length of 30 days and the fifth and last of five months to have a length of fewer than 31 days. November was the ninth month of the calendar of Romulus c. 750 BC. November retained its name when January and February were added to the Roman calendar. November is a month of late spring in the Southern Hemisphere and late autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. Therefore, November in the Southern Hemisphere is the seasonal equivalent of May in the Northern Hemisphere and vice versa. In Ancient Rome, Ludi Plebeii was held from November 4–17, Epulum Jovis was held on November 13 and Brumalia celebrations began on November 24. These dates do not correspond to the modern Gregorian calendar.

October Tenth month in the Julian and Gregorian calendars

October is the tenth month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars and the sixth of seven months to have a length of 31 days. The eighth month in the old calendar of Romulus c. 750 BC, October retained its name after January and February were inserted into the calendar that had originally been created by the Romans. In Ancient Rome, one of three Mundus patet would take place on October 5, Meditrinalia October 11, Augustalia on October 12, October Horse on October 15, and Armilustrium on October 19. These dates do not correspond to the modern Gregorian calendar. Among the Anglo-Saxons, it was known as Ƿinterfylleþ, because at this full moon (fylleþ) winter was supposed to begin.

September Ninth month in the Julian and Gregorian calendars

September is the ninth month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars, the third of four months to have a length of 30 days, and the fourth of five months to have a length of less than 31 days. In the Northern Hemisphere September is the seasonal equivalent of March in the Southern Hemisphere.

A solstice is an event occurring when the Sun appears to reach its most northerly or southerly excursion relative to the celestial equator on the celestial sphere. Two solstices occur annually, around June 21 and December 21. In many countries, the seasons of the year are determined by reference to the solstices and the equinoxes.

Summer Warmest of the four temperate seasons

Summer is the hottest of the four temperate seasons, falling after spring and before autumn. At or around the summer solstice, the earliest sunrise and latest sunset occurs, the days are longest and the nights are shortest, with day length decreasing as the season progresses after the solstice. The date of the beginning of summer varies according to climate, tradition, and culture. When it is summer in the Northern Hemisphere, it is winter in the Southern Hemisphere, and vice versa.

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The September equinox is the moment when the Sun appears to cross the celestial equator, heading southward. Due to differences between the calendar year and the tropical year, the September equinox can occur at any time between September 21 and 24.

March equinox The equinox on the Earth when the Sun appears to leave the southern hemisphere and cross the celestial equator

The March equinox or Northward equinox is the equinox on the Earth when the subsolar point appears to leave the Southern Hemisphere and cross the celestial equator, heading northward as seen from Earth. The March equinox is known as the vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere and as the autumnal equinox in the Southern.

Winter solstice astronomical phenomenon that occurs in December in Northern Hemisphere and in June in Southern Hemisphere

The winter solstice, hiemal solstice or hibernal solstice, also known as midwinter, occurs when one of the Earth's poles has its maximum tilt away from the Sun. It happens twice yearly, once in each hemisphere. For that hemisphere, the winter solstice is the day with the shortest period of daylight and longest night of the year, when the Sun is at its lowest daily maximum elevation in the sky. At the pole, there is continuous darkness or twilight around the winter solstice. Its opposite is the summer solstice.

Summer solstice Astronomical phenomenon when Earths axial tilt toward the Sun is a maximum (currently 23.44°)

The summer solstice, also known as estival solstice or midsummer, occurs when one of the Earth's poles has its maximum tilt toward the Sun. It happens twice yearly, once in each hemisphere. For that hemisphere, the summer solstice is when the Sun reaches its highest position in the sky and is the day with the longest period of daylight. Within the Arctic circle or Antarctic circle, there is continuous daylight around the summer solstice. On the summer solstice, Earth's maximum axial tilt toward the Sun is 23.44°. Likewise, the Sun's declination from the celestial equator is 23.44°.

Lists of holidays by various categorizations.

References

  1. Macrobius, Saturnalia , tr. Percival Vaughan Davies (New York: Columbia University Press, 1969), book I, chapters 12–13, pp. 89–95.
  2. The Earth passes the junction of the signs at 10:02 UT/GMT December 21, 2020, and will pass it again at 15:59 UT/GMT December 21, 2021.
  3. "Astrology Calendar", yourzodiacsign. Signs in UT/GMT for 1950–2030.

See also