Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
December begins (astrologically) with the sun in the sign of Sagittarius and ends in the sign of Capricorn. Astronomically speaking, the sun begins in the constellation of Ophiuchus, which is the only zodiacal constellation that is not counted as an astrological sign, and ends in the constellation of Sagittarius.
The name is from the Latin decem for "ten". December was the tenth month in the Roman calendar until a monthless winter period (summer in the southern hemisphere) was divided between January and February.
In old Japanese calendar, the month is called Shiwasu (師走).
- The United Nations has designated December 10 as Human Rights Day.
- The solstice called the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere and the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere occurs around December 21. In the pagan wheel of the year the winter solstice is the time of Yule and the summer solstice is that of Litha.
- Christmas is celebrated as a holiday in much of the western world and is a religious day, second in importance only to Easter for Christians. The holiday, which occurs on December 25, celebrates the birth of Jesus.
- In Ireland, December 26 is called St. Stephen's Day and is a public holiday. In the Irish calendar the month is called Mí na Nollag (literally "The Month of Christmas") and is the middle month of the Winter season.
- December always begins with the same day of the week as September.
- December's flower is the holly.
- December's birthstone is turquoise.
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