Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat,
Please to put a penny in the old man’s hat;
If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do,
If you haven’t got a ha’penny, God bless you!
—Beggar’s rhyme-The Old Farmers Almanac
December comes from the Latin word decem meaning “ten” because this had been the tenth month of the early Roman calendar.
This year, December 2 is the first day of Chanukah. This eight-day Jewish festival begins at sundown on December 1; each night brings the lighting of the Chanukiah.
December 6 is Saint Nicholas Day. St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children, inspires traditions around the world from hunts for presents to stockings with sweets.
The 8th of the month brings the Islamic New Year. This celebration comes on the first day in the lunar calendar, which begins at the first sighting of the lunar crescent after the new Moon.
St. Lucia’s Day on the 13th has long been associated with festivals of light. Before the Gregorian calendar reform in 1752, her feast day occurred on the shortest day of the year (hence the saying “Lucy light, Lucy light, shortest day and longest night”).
The winter solstice falls on the 21st. In 2010, the first day of winter also brings a total lunar eclipse of the full Moon!
December 25 is Christmas Day, a Christian holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. Following Christmas is Boxing Day (Canada) on the 26.
On the last evening of the year, December 31, kiss the person you hope to keep kissing!