21 Dazzling Facts about December

It's the most wonderful time of the year…

December is a month of one year's closure and a time when we start preparing our New Year's resolution list.

December, that time of year when storefronts are festooned with holiday decorations and Christmas spirit! It's a month of festivities, joy, and family reunions.

Let's take a look at the origins of December, the traditions we celebrate during it, as well as some interesting little facts to bring it all together!


December was originally the tenth month of the year in the Roman calendar. It gets its name from the Latin word "decem" which means tenth.
However, when the Romans added January and February to the calendar, it became the twelfth month. They still kept the name, though.

The month of December originally consisted of 30 days.
After January and February were added to the calendar (around 700 BCE), December was shortened to 29 days. Then, two days were added to December in the subsequent Julian calendar, making it 31 days long.

If you live in the northern hemisphere, then winter begins on either December 1st or after the winter solstice on the 20th or 21st of December.
If you live in the southern hemisphere, this is the opposite, of course, with summer commencing at either the beginning of the month or after the summer solstice.

The Anglo-Saxons called December "Winter monath" or "Yule monath" because of the custom of burning the Yule log around this time.

After many Anglo-Saxons became Christians they called it "Heligh monath" or holy month, because Christmas, the birth of Jesus is celebrated in December.

The full moon in December has been traditionally referred to as the Full Cold Moon by a number of different Native American tribes.

In December, the Birth Flowers are Holly and Narcissus, each carrying powerful symbols.
Holly represents goodwill and protection, while Narcissus symbolizes hope and rebirth.

The two zodiac signs for December are Sagittarius and Capricorn.
If you're born before December 23rd, then you have the sign of Sagittarius.
Those born December 23rd or later have the sign of Capricorn.

December's birthstones are turquoise, lapis lazuli, zircon, topaz (blue), or tanzanite.

December starts on the same day of the week as September starts every year, and ends on the same day of the week as April ends every year.

December is associated with Christmas in many countries. There are Christmas decorations, sales, musicals, and parties. Many people spend their time Christmas shopping.

Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Eve on the 24th and Christmas Day on December 25th, which celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ.
The US has a number of Christmas-related month-long observances, with the most important being National Egg Nog Month, National Fruit Cake Month, and National Impaired Driving Prevention Month!

Although it's meant to be the season of goodwill and happiness, December is the month couples argue the most, with one in 20 doubting their relationship will survive past Christmas Day.

Many consider December 28th the unluckiest day of the year.
The origins of this superstition lie in the story of Christ, as it was reportedly on this day that the reigning king Herod ordered all baby boys to be put to death in an attempt to kill Jesus Christ.

December 7th is National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

Sir Francis Drake set sail from England on December 13th, 1577 leading a voyage around the world.

The Bill of Rights came into effect on December 15, 1791. The Bill of Rights included the first ten amendments to the US constitution, rights which are said to be the pillars of modern US society and government.

December 10, 1896, saw the death of the Nobel Prize's namesake, Alfred Nobel.
In Nobel's will, he declared that his accumulated wealth be used to give awards to members of society who show great achievement in the advancement of humanity.

On December 5, 1901, a little magic came into the world along with the birth of Walt Disney.
Today Disney is a common word in households around the world thanks to the endless number of books, cartoons, films, and other forms of entertainment created by the Walt Disney Company.

The unfortunately humorous-sounding Battle of the Bulge commenced on December 16, 1944.
The Battle of the Bulge was Adolf Hitler's last major offensive in World War II against the Western Front. Lasting six brutal weeks, from December 16, 1944, to January 25, 1945, the assault took place during frigid weather conditions.
By the time the German forces were defeated, the number of casualties was astronomically high, with 130,000 German and 77,000 Allied casualties.

The Soviet Union officially dissolved on December 25, 1991, effectively ending the 40-year-long Cold War with the United States.

Also Read: 20 Jubilant Facts about January

CBC / Almanac / Wikipedia / History Place / Project Britain / GIA