December 21, 2014
The December solstice solar year is the solar year based on the December solstice. It is thus the length of time between adjacent December solstices.
The length of the December solstice year has been relatively stable between 6000 BC and 2000 at 49:30 (minutes:seconds) to 50:00 in excess of 365 days and 5 hours.
After 2000 it is getting shorter. In 4000 the excess time will be 48:52 and in 10000 46:45.
The figures in the charts show the differences between the Gregorian calendar and Persian Jalāli calendar in reference to the actual yearly time of the Southern solstice.
The error shifts by slightly less than 1/4 day per year; in the Gregorian calendar it is corrected by a leap year every 4th year, omitting three such corrections
in every 400 years, so that the average length of a calendar year is 365 97/400 days; while in the Persian calendar every eighth leap-cycle is extended to 5 years,
making the average 365 8/33 days, shorter than the Gregorian average by one day every 13200 years.
The date of the solstice is not the same as the date of the latest sunrise and both are not the same as the date of earliest sunset. Because the Earth is moving along
its solar orbital path, for each solar day the Earth has to do more than one full rotation. Because the Earth's orbit is elliptical, the speed at which the Earth moves
along its orbit varies. Consequently, solar days are not the same length throughout the year. "Mean time" is the way of correcting this, making each day the same length,
i.e. 24 hours. The maximum correction (see Equation of Time) is ± 15 minutes to the mean but its value changes quite rapidly around the solstices. If solar time were used
rather than mean time, the latest sunrise and earliest sunset and therefore also the shortest day would all be at the solstice.
December 25, 2014
Many people in the United States celebrate Christmas Day on December 25. The day celebrates Jesus Christ's birth. It is often combined with customs from pre-Christian winter celebrations. Many people erect Christmas trees, decorate their homes, visit family or friends and exchange gifts.
People celebrate Christmas Day in many ways. In the days or even weeks before Christmas Day, many people decorate their homes and gardens with lights, Christmas trees and much more. It is common to organize a special meal, often consisting of turkey and a lot of other festive foods, for family or friends and exchange gifts with them. Children, in particular,
often receive a lot of gifts from their parents and other relatives and the mythical figure Santa Claus. This has led to Christmas Day becoming an increasingly commercialized holiday, with a lot of families spending a large part of their income on gifts and food.
Many Sunday schools, churches and communities organize special events. These can include decorating the neighborhood or a shopping mall, putting up a Christmas tree and planning a Nativity display, concert or performance. A lot of plays and songs have a aspect of Christmas as a theme. Some groups arrange meals, shelter or charitable projects for people without a home or with very little money.
New Years Eve
December 31, 2014
New Year's Eve is a major social holiday for many people in the United States. Many people hold parties at home or attend special celebrations to celebrate the upcoming New Year. In many cities, large scale public events are held. These often attract thousands of people.
A particularly striking aspect of the New Year's Eve festivities is the ball drop in Times Square in Manhattan, New York City. The ball is made of crystal and electric lights and is placed on top of a pole, which is 77 feet, or 23 meters, high. At one minute before midnight on December 31, the ball is
lowered slowly down the pole. It comes to rest at the bottom of the pole at exactly midnight.
The event is shown on television across the United States and around the world. The event has been held every year since 1907, except during World War II.
Across the United States a range of cities and towns hold their own versions of the ball drop. A variety of objects are lowered or raised during the last minute of the year.
The objects are usually linked to an aspect of local history or industry. Examples of objects 'dropped' or raised in this way include a variety of live and modeled domestic and wild animals, fruit, vegetables, automobiles, industrial machinery, a giant replica of a peach (Atlanta, Georgia), an acorn made of brass and weighing 900 pounds (Raleigh, North Carolina) and ping pong balls (Strasburg, Pennsylvania)
January 6, 2015
Epiphany, commonly known as Three Kings’ Day in the United States, is on January 6. It celebrates the three wise men’s visit to baby Jesus and also remembers his baptism, according to the Christian Bible’s events. The United States (US) Virgin Islands observe the day as a public holiday.
People from the US Virgin Islands celebrate Three Kings’ Day to emphasize and maintain their heritage and culture, especially on the island of St Croix where the day features parades, bands, food, music, and other types of entertainment. Although it is not a public holiday in other parts of the United States, many Christians take part in Epiphany activities
Epiphany marks the beginning of the Mardi Gras season in Alabama, Louisiana and other Southeastern Unites States locations. It is customary to bake king cakes during this time of the year. These cakes may include a small trinket (such as a baby doll) inside. The person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket receives various privileges or obligations. For example, they may be requested to provide the next king cake. The interval between Epiphany and Mardi Gras is sometimes known as “king cake season”.