DECEMBER, the ldst month of the year. In the Roman calendar, traditionally ascribed to Romulus, the year was divided into ten months, the last of which was called December, or the tenth month, and this name, though etymologically incorrect, was retained for the fast or twelfth month of the year as now divided. In the Romulian calendar December had thirty days ; Numa reduced the number to twenty nine ; Julius Csar added two days to this, giving the mouth its present length. The Saturnalia occurred in December, which is therefore styled " acceptus geniis" by Ovid (Fasti, iii. 58) ; and this also explains the phrase of Horace " libertate Decembri utere " (Sat. ii. 7). Martial applies to the month the epithet canus (hoary), and Ovid styles it geliclus (frosty) and fumes-us (smoky). The Saxons called it wiater-monat, or winter month, and heligh-monat, or holy month, from the fact that Christmas fell within it. The 22d December is the date of the winter solstice, when the sun reaches the tropic of Capricorn.