December loved for birthdays, festivities
Can you believe that December is almost over and we’re entering a new year and a time for a fresh new start in our lives? Many cite December as their favorite month of the year. It is the 12th and last month in the ancient Roman calendar and comes from the Latin word “decem,” meaning 10. December is the month known foremost as the month when Christians all over the world celebrate the birth of Christ.
December is also the most festive month and holds family traditions going back for many years. Think about the traditions handed down in your family. Some cook special dishes that have been handed down from one generation to another. Husband Jim likes to make Southern cornbread stuffing that his mother made for his family.
Other traditions include the singing of Christmas carols, trimming the tree and sending Christmas cards, though many of today’s cards may more likely come from a computer. This is the first year that I didn’t send cards before Christmas. But not to worry, I bought the cards and started getting them ready as soon as I cleared away Christmas dinner and everyone had left the building as the saying goes.
The last day of December closes the year. In Japan, it is the time for taking stock of things and the payment of debts. After checking our credit card statements, we probably wish that we had taken stock of what was going on with our cards a bit sooner. I admit that it’s hard to resist getting a bit carried away with buying, the festivities and exchanging of gifts.
Here are some of the fixed December calendar birthdays and festivities. Maybe you’ll find some new ones that catch your fancy to celebrate.
- Feast Day (Dec. 2) of Saint Eligius, patron saint of jewelers and metalworkers.
- Birthday of Henry Thacker Burleigh (Dec. 2), African-American composer widely known for arrangements of Negro spirituals such as “Deep River.”
- Heart Transplant Day (Dec. 3), the anniversary of the first human heart transplant performed by Dr. Christian Barnard in Cape Town, South Africa in 1967.
- Birthday of Edith Louisa Cavell (Dec. 4). A monument in Trafalgar Square, London commemorates this English nurse and heroine of World War I who was executed by the Germans.
- Anniversary of the founding of Phi Beta Kappa (Dec. 5) at the College of William and Mary.
- Nobel Prize Presentation Day (Dec. 10) presents awards in Stockholm. The peace prize is presented in Oslo, Norway.
- Bill of Rights Day (Dec. 15) honors the ratification of the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution; observed in the United States by presidential proclamation.
- Boston Tea Party anniversary (Dec. 16), observed in remembrance of the colonist who boarded a British vessel and dumped a shipload of tea into the Boston Harbor.
- Forefather’s Day (Dec. 21) observed in Plymouth, Mass. to commemorate the landing of the Pilgrims in 1620.
- Day of National Mourning (Dec. 22) in Mexico commemorates death of Jose Maria Morelos, revolutionary hero.
- Birthday of Joseph Smith (Dec. 23), the American Mormon leader, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints.
- Christmas Day (Dec. 25) is “the Day of the Nativity of the Lord.” The word Christmas can be traced back to 1038 to the Old English Cristes Maesse, meaning the Mass of Christ.”
- Birthday of Clara Barton (Dec. 25), honored as an American philanthropist and organizer of the Red Cross. This is a good reminder to make a year-end donation to the Red Cross.
- Birthday of Louis Pasteur (Dec. 27), a French chemist and founder of microbiological sciences and of preventive medicine.
- Rizal Day (Dec. 30), a holiday held in the Philippines to commemorate the death of Jose Mercado Rizal in 1896. He was a doctor and author whose books denounced the Spanish administration and inspired the Philippine nationalist movement.
- Watch Night or New Year’s evening (Dec. 30) is a traditional time of merrymaking in which people gather to watch the old year out and the New Year in.
I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas. But remember to “Rejoice and then recycle,” as someone once said.
Mayrene Bates is a trustee on the Solano County Board of Education.
Mayrene Bates is a trustee with the Solano County Board of Education.