December facts for kids

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December is the twelfth and last month of the year in the Gregorian calendar, with 31 days, coming between November (of the same year) and January (of the next year). With the name of the month coming from the Latin decem for "ten", it was the tenth month of the year before January and February were added to the Roman calendar.

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

December's flower is the Narcissus. Its birthstone is the turquoise. The meaning of the turquoise is prosperity.

Some of the holidays celebrated in December are Christmas, New Year's Eve, Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah.

The Month

A Christmas market in Dresden, Germany in December

December is the 12th and last month of every calendar year in the Gregorian calendar, and is one of seven months of the year to have 31 days. December 31 is followed by January 1 of the following year. December begins on the same day of the week as September every year, as September 1 and December 1 are exactly 13 weeks (91 days) apart. December ends on the same day as April every year. If the following year is a leap year, then March of that year would start and end on the same day of the week as December of the year that came before. November of the following year would then start on the same day of the week as December of the current year. If the following year is a common year, then December of the current year starts on the same day of the week as June of that year.

The month of December has a solstice, and in this month the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere is turned towards the Sun, meaning that December 21 or December 22 is the Northern Winter Solstice and the Southern Summer Solstice. This means that this date would have the least daylight of any day in the Northern Hemisphere, and the most in the Southern Hemisphere. There are 24 hours of darkness at the North Pole and 24 hours of daylight at the South Pole. In each hemisphere, December is the seasonal equivalent of June in the other.

In mainly Christian countries, December is dominated by Christmas, which is celebrated on December 25 in most of those countries, though Eastern Orthodox Christians celebrate it on January 7. It marks the birth of Jesus Christ. Epiphany, January 6, is also important in relation to Christmas. Advent starts on the Sunday on, or closest to, November 30, and some countries have their own related celebration before the 25th. Sinterklaas is celebrated on December 5 in the Netherlands and Belgium, and St. Nicholas Day on December 6 is also celebrated in some countries. The Scandinavian countries, mainly Sweden, celebrate St. Lucia Day on December 13, while Iceland celebrates Thorlaksmessa on December 23. The week after Christmas is spent preparing for New Year.

Judaism's festival of light, Hanukkah, is also celebrated over eight days in this month.

Holidays and Festivals

Fixed dates

A red ribbon at the White House, marking World AIDS Day, December 1.
Sinterklaas 2007
Sinterklaas is celebrated in the Netherlands and Belgium on December 5.
St. Lucia Day celebration in Sweden on December 13.
Krippe Gutenzell
A Christmas Nativity scene
Sydney new years 2008-9
New Year's Eve fireworks in Sydney, Australia, one of the first major cities to start the new year.
Eleven hours after Sydney, Edinburgh in Scotland welcomes the new year with its famous Hogmanay fireworks

Moveable and Non-Single Day Events

The Menorah used in Hanukkah in Judaism.

Historical Events

Map of Finland-en
Map of Finland, which declared independence on December 6, 1917.
Aan de Zuidpool - p1913-160
Roald Amundsen and his expedition team at the South Pole on December 14, 1911.
Stille nacht
Text for Silent Night, which was first performed on December 24, 1818.
The planet Neptune was observed by Galileo on December 28, 1612.


Advent wreath
Months of the Year

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Images for kids

December Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.