LIBRARY: What Happened in December?
There's more to December than just the usual yuletide cheer! Many historic events occurred in this month, different cultures celebrate their holidays, and some of the world's most influential people were born. Take a look at a few notable dates remembered this week, then come in to see more of the Special Days in December on our displays!
Festival of Hanukkah:
Pronunciation: (khah-nuh-kuh, hah-nuh-kuh)
A festival in Judaism that occurs each December. Hanukkah commemorates the victory of the Jews in the second century b.c. over the Syrians, who had occupied their country, and the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem (hanukkah is Hebrew for "dedication"). Observers of Hanukkah light one candle in a candleholder called a menorah each night for eight nights in memory of a legend that, when the Temple was rededicated, its lamps burned, without enough oil, miraculously for a week.
Hanukkah was formerly one of the less important Jewish festivals, but today it is celebrated by Jews in many parts of the world - especially the United States, where it overlaps with the celebration of Christmas.
(From The New Dictionary of Cultural Litreracy, 3rd Edition.)
Ira Gershwin Born: December 6, 1896
"Ira Gershwin emerged as a master of musical comedy during the 1920s and 1930s, when vaudeville was golden. He strummed heartstrings with his dazzling show stopping tunes and caused critics to notice an art form they had never before taken seriously. In collaboration with his younger brother, composer George Gershwin, the elder Gershwin put lyrics to the scores of vaudeville revues and Broadway plays beginning in 1918. In 1932 he shared a Pulitzer Prize for the musical satire, "Of Thee I Sing," and he collaborated on light operas, including a libretto for the poignant "Porgy and Bess" in 1936." (From www.pbs.org)
Pearl Harbor Attacked: December 7th, 1941
"At 6 a.m. on December 7, the first wave of [Japanese] fighters, bombers and torpedo planes began winging south toward Pearl Harbor.
The raid was over an hour later. At a cost of only 29 airplanes, the Japanese had inflicted a staggering defeat on the United States. They had sunk seven ships (including five battleships), left two ships unrepairable and severely damaged four more; their attack destroyed 188 aircraft and damaged 159; 2,403 men were dead and 1,178 wounded.
For the dead of Pearl Harbor, the war ended on that infamous December 7. Some found their final resting place in the red soil of Oahu. Some went home to the mainland in flag-draped coffins. And some--more than 1,000--lay entombed forever in the torn, twisted wreckage of the Arizona. In 1960-61, a slender, graceful, 184-foot-long white concrete structure was built athwart the sunken battleship to honor the men buried inside and to pay homage to all the others who perished in the Pearl Harbor attack." (From American History magazine)
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Born: December 11, 1918
Russian novelist and historian who was awarded the 1970 Nobel Prize for Literature and was exiled from the Soviet Union in 1974.
Solzhenitsyn attended the University of Rostov-na-Donu, graduating in mathematics, and took correspondence courses in literature at Moscow State University. He fought in World War II, achieving the rank of captain of artillery. In 1945, however, he was arrested for writing a letter in which he criticized Joseph Stalin, and he spent eight years in prisons and labor camps and three more years in enforced exile.
He became an instant celebrity in 1962 with the publication of his short novel Odin den Ivana Denisovicha (One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich). After the publication of a collection of his short stories in 1963, Solzhenitsyn was denied further official publication of his works, and he resorted to circulating them clandestinely as well as publishing them abroad.
In 1970 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, but he declined to go to Stockholm to receive the prize for fear that he would not be readmitted to the Soviet Union upon his return. When the first parts of Arkhipelag GULag (Gulag Archipelago, The) were published in Paris in December 1973, Solzhenitsyn was attacked in the Soviet press and arrested; he was charged with treason two months later. He was exiled from the Soviet Union in February 1974.
Solzhenitsyn settled in Cavendish, Vt., U.S., where he continued to write . . . In the late 1980s Solzhenitsyn's work received renewed attention in the Soviet Union, and in 1989 the Soviet literary magazine Novy Mir published the first officially approved excerpts from The GULag Archipelago. Other works were also published, and Solzhenitsyn's Soviet citizenship was officially restored in 1990. In 1994 he moved back to Russia. (From Merriam Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature.)