St. Nicholas Day
Many countries celebrate the Feast of Sinterklaas, or St. Nicholas, on the eve of December 6. After dinner, families hunt for presents, following clues in funny, anonymous poems. They also eat candies and cookies. The legend of St. Nicholas is, like the lives of many saints, shrouded in mystery. We know that he was a bishop during the fourth century. In many places in the United States and abroad, children still place their shoes by the window or door for St. Nicholas to fill them with presents and sweets. He is considered the patron saint of children.
After December 21, the days start to get longer! The winter solstice is one of the two times each year that the Sun is at its farthest point from the equator and appears to stand still. The word solstice comes from the Latin word sol, or "Sun," and stitium, or "stop." This year, the solstice on the 21st arrives at 5:23 P.M. Eastern Standard Time.
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QUESTION OF THE DAY
Why are sharps and flats called sharps and flats, and why not in Italian, like a lot of other music words?
December comes from the Latin word decem, "ten," because this had been the tenth month of the early Roman calendar.