December 21 in History

December 21 in Pop Culture History

December 21st is…
The First Day of Winter and the shortest day of the year!
Crossword Puzzle Day
Hamburger Day
Humbug Day
National French Fried Shrimp Day
National Maine Day
Phileas Fogg Win a Wager Day
National Homeless Persons’ Remembrance Day
Winter Solstice

The Winter Solstice falls on or around December 21st. On this day in the Northern Hemisphere, the earth is tilted away from the sun as far as it can get.

As the shortest day of the year and the absolute height of winter (astronomically speaking), the Solstice was an important ritual day in many ancient religions. It continues to coincide with modern holidays such as Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanza. Many early pagan midwinter customs (candle rituals, decorating evergreen trees, etc.) are still practiced worldwide.

The Winter Solstice is also celebrated today by Wiccans and other Neopagans; many observe the holiday as Yule, a festival of merry-making and faith with roots in Norse and other indigenous European cultures.

Whatever your spiritual leanings, the Winter Solstice can be a poignant time to gather with loved ones, celebrate community and the march of seasons, or simply reflect on the exquisite balance of nature. Even on the deepest, darkest day of winter, take heart! Summer is on its way.

December 21 in Pop Culture History
1620 – William Bradford and the Mayflower Pilgrims landed on (what is now known as Plymouth Rock) in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

1913 – Arthur Wynne published his “word-cross”, the first crossword puzzle, in the New York World.

1937 – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Walt Disney’s first full-length (83 minutes) animated film, opened in Los Angeles, CA, at the Carthay Circle Theatre.

1970 – Richard Nixon and Elvis Presley met at the White House. Elvis was there to help the government’s war on drugs.

1974 – #1 Hit December 21, 1974 – December 27, 1974: Harry Chapin – Cat’s in the Cradle

1975 – Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, better known as Carlos the Jackle, raided an OPEC meeting in Austria. Three people were killed in the attack.

1984 – Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo, Birdy, Johnny Dangerously and The Flamingo Kid debuted in theaters.

1985 – #1 Hit December 21, 1985 – January 17, 1986: Lionel Richie – Say You, Say Me

1985 – Pope John Paul II announced the institution of ‘World Youth Day’.

1988 – Pan Am Flight 103 (London to New York) exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew members aboard and 11 Lockerbie residents on the ground. Libya admitted responsibility in 2003. “The Four Tops,” Tennis player Mats Wilander, Actress Kim Cattrall, and Punk Rocker Johnny Rotten booked but missed the flight.

1989 – The United States sends troops into Panama to overthrow the government of Manuel Noriega. Noriega surrendered on January 3, 1990.

1994 – Richie Rich was released in theaters.

1996 – NeXT merged with Apple Computer.

2001 – Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius debuted in theaters.

2001 – A Beautiful Mind, starring Russell Crowe, had a limited release; the film’s wide release was January 4, 2002.

2007 – National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and P.S. I Love You debuted in theaters.

2013 – #1 Hit December 21, 2013 – January 17, 2014: Eminem featuring Rihanna – The Monster

2019 – #1 Hit December 21, 2019 – January 10, 2020: Mariah Carey – All I Want for Christmas Is You


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