December is the 12th month (and last month) in our modern-day Gregorian calendar (as it was in the preceding Julian calendar).
However, it was originally the 10th month of the Roman calendar (until 153 BC). Hence, “December” comes from the Latin word decem, meaning “ten.”
Back in Roman times, the calendar only had ten months and began with March! The winter period was not even assigned months because it was not an active time for military, agriculture, or civil life.
The month of December originally consisted of 30 days. When January and February were added to the calendar (around 700 BCE), December was shortened to 29 days. Then, in the subsequent Julian calendar, two days were added to December, making it 31 days long.
“Just for Fun” Holidays
Did you know that December is National Pear Month? Celebrate these fun holidays this month:
- Dec. 11: International Mountain Day
- Dec. 13: National Violin Day
- Dec. 13: National Day of the Horse
- Dec. 20: Underdog Day
- Dec. 26: National Candy Cane Day
Folklore for the Season
- December changeable and mild, the whole winter will remain a child.
- Thunder in December presages fine weather.
- Frost on the shortest day is said to indicate a severe winter.
- December cold, with snow, brings rye everywhere.
December Moon & Astronomy
- Winter Solstice
- The month of December brings the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. This is the shortest day of the year (the day with the least amount of daylight).
- In 2021, the solstice occurs on Tuesday, December 21.
- Full Cold Moon
- December’s Full Moon, the Full Cold Moon, appears on Saturday, December 18, reaching peak illumination at 11:37 P.M. EST. Read more about the Full Cold Moon.
- Geminid Meteor Shower
- Look skyward on the night of December 13 after 9 P.M. for a chance to catch a glimpse of the Geminid meteors. The Geminid meteor shower is the most active shower of the year.
- This year, the peak of the meteor shower lands just one day after the new moon, meaning that the sky will be nice and dark—perfect for stargazing! If the sky is clear and temperatures aren’t too chilly, it’s worth venturing outside to try to see the Geminids.
Borrowed from The Farmer’s Almanac
Image by Guneet Jassal on Unsplash