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For all cultures, religions and traditions, the month of December has been known around the world as a family time of celebration.
The name December comes from the Latin word decem meaning "ten", and it was the 10th month in the Roman calendar.
The term Yuletide ('yule monath') comes from the Norse tradition of cutting and burning a huge tree on December 21st. This symbolized the winter solstice, bringing good luck as it burned throughout their 12-day winter festival, known later as the 12 Days of Christmas.
Saint Nicholas, 4th Century Bishop of Myra in Asia Minor (now Turkey), was originally designated by the church as the patron saint of children, thieves and pawnbrokers.
An almanac prediction says snow on Christmas means Easter will be warm and green.
December 28th is regarded by many superstitious people as the most unlucky day of the year.
In the Netherlands, St. Nicholas was said to bring sweets and presents to well-behaved children on December 6. Dutch settlers brought this tradition to America, and St. Nicholas evolved into the modern-day Santa Claus.
Yule logs were traditionally lit on the first day of the winter solstice, and were burned throughout the first solstice night for 12 hours as a symbol of hope and belief that the sun will, again, return.
Posted December 2009 | Permanent Link
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