Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Solstice, Yule, Humbug Day, Flashlight Day, more

December 21st, 2011, is Winter Solstice, Anne and Samantha Day, Yule, Shab-e Yalda, National Homeless Persons' Memorial Day, Humbug Day, National Flashlight Day, Look on the Bright Side Day, Forefathers' Day, Phileas Fogg Wins a Wager Day, Independence Day (Nepal), and Kiwi Fruit Day.

Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, takes place on December 21st or December 22nd in the Northern Hemisphere this year. In the Southern Hemisphere, Winter Solstice took place on June 22nd, 2011.

Anne and Samantha Day is observed on both the Winter Solstice and Summer Solstice, in an effort to honor Anne Frank and Samantha Smith on postage stamps. The two girls lived with courage and died as teens.

Yule is also celebrated on the Winter Solstice. Pagans and Wiccans set up yule alters, celebrate goddess rites, and welcome back the sun.

Shab-e Yalda, celebrated in Iran, commemorates the Eve of the Birth of Mithra, the Sun God.

Since 1990, National Homeless Persons' Memorial Day has been observed on the Winter Solstice. The event, meant "to bring attention to the tragedy of homelessness and to remember our homeless friends who have paid the ultimate price for [the United States'] failure to end homelessness," is sponsored by the National Coalition for the Homeless, the National Consumer Advisory Board, and the National Health Care for the Homeless Council.

Celebrate your inner Ebenezer Scrooge on Humbug Day. Go on, it's okay. All of us embody at least a smidge of Scrooge sometimes.

National Flashlight Day takes place each year on December 21st, despite the fact that many neighborhoods are brightly lit with holiday lights. Oh, well. If someone blows a fuse, that flashlight will come in handy.

Look on the Bright Side Day is easy to celebrate today, given the plethora of glowing holiday lights and shining flashlights.

Forefathers' Day commemorates the Pilgrims' arrival at Plymouth Rock in 1620 on December 21st.

Today is Phileas Fogg Wins a Wager Day, the day when the fictional Fogg collected on his $20,000 bet that he could travel Around the World in Eighty Days.

Nepal observes Independence Day on December 21st, celebrating independence since 1923.

On Kiwi Fruit Day, enjoy a fruit that's not only good for you, but is also delicious and looks beautiful served in slices or quarters. Add some kiwi to your holiday buffet!

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