November: Fun Facts, Holidays, Historical Events, and More

Fall vegetables in leaves
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Although the month of November is the last full month of autumn in the northern hemisphere, many parts of the country are beginning to experience colder temperatures and even snow during this month. The days grow shorter now, especially once most of the U.S. "falls forward" by one hour, exiting Daylight Saving Time on the second Sunday of November. Here are some more fun facts about the 11th month of the year. 

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On the Calendar

Tourists and autumn leaves in public park next to Osaka Castle, Japan

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November was the ninth month of the ancient Roman calendar and has retained its name from the Latin novem, meaning "nine." In Finland, they call November marraskuu, which translates as "the month of the dead." It is one of four months with a length of 30 days on the Gregorian, or modern, calendar.

In the United States and Canada, November is also known as National Beard Month or No Shave Month (also known as "​No-Shave November") as a way to raise cancer awareness. Australians have a similar month where they grow a mustache instead of a full beard.

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Birth Month

Necklace with large pendant

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Topaz, a semi-precious stone that symbolizes friendship, is found in many colors, but it is the orange-yellow version that is the traditional birthstone for November. Citrine, which is actually a quartz crystal that ranges from yellow to orange in color, is considered another November birthstone. It is often mistaken for the orange-yellow topaz, which is the more expensive of the two stones.

The flower for the month of November is the chrysanthemum. The word chrysanthemum comes from the Greek words chrys and anthemum, meaning golden flower. In the language of flowers, chrysanthemum is considered to symbolize honesty, joy, and optimism.

Scorpio and Sagittarius are the astrological signs for November. Birthdays from November 1st through the 21st fall under the Scorpio sign. November 22nd through November 30th birthdays fall under the sign of Sagittarius.

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Cropped shot mash being passed during a feast at a dining table


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  • All Saints Day is a Christian festival held on November 1 that celebrates the lives of all saints, known and unknown. In Mexico and throughout many Hispanic communities in the U.S., November 1 is also known as the Day of the Dead, a time for families to remember and honor loved ones who have passed away. All Soul's Day, in which Christians essentially do the same, is celebrated the following day, November 2.
  • Veteran's Day, when we honor those who have served in the United States Armed Forces, falls annually on November 11. It also coincides with Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, which mark the end of World War I.
  • Thanksgiving, perhaps the most popular of all American holidays after Christmas, is celebrated each year on the third Thursday of November. Not only do Americans have the chance on this day to gather with friends and family over a sumptuous meal but they also get to enjoy a rare four-day weekend (with the Friday afterward, known as Black Friday, marking the traditional start of the Christmas shopping season).
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Fun Days

Evolution drawn with chalk


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  • National Men Make Dinner Day: the first Thursday in November (some of us think this should be every Thursday, year-round, but what do we know)
  • National Sandwich Day: November 3, which is also National Housewife Day (we're detecting a theme here . . . )
  • World Diabetes Day: November 14
  • International Tolerance Day: November 16
  • International Evolution Day: November 24, in celebration of Charles Darwin's publication of "On the Origin of Species" in 1859, and otherwise known as All Our Uncles Are Monkeys Day (no, seriously)
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Recent Historical Events

Lincoln and Gettysburg Address


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  • The Erie Canal was formally opened in New York on November 4, 1825.
  • The Suez Canal opened on November 17, 1869.
  • Abraham Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863.
  • The United States and Panama signed the treaty that provided for the Panama Canal on November 18, 1903.
  • The US and Canada celebrate the end of WWI every year on November 11, 1918.
  • After discovering debris-covered stairs, British archaeologist Howard Carter and his crew entered the four-room Egyptian tomb of 18-year-old King Tutankhamen on November 26, 1922.
  • The first mechanically ventilated underwater tunnel in the world, the Holland Tunnel, opened to traffic on November 13, 1927.
  • Commander Richard E. Byrd and crew of three became first to fly over the South Pole, November 29, 1929.
  • Parker Brothers introduced the world to the Monopoly game on November 5, 1935.
  • On November 18, 1963, Bell Telephone Company introduced to the public the push button phone.
  • John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963.
  • The Reverend Jim Jones led over 900 of his followers to their death in a mass suicide, the largest in history, at Jonestown, Guyana, November 19. 1978.
  • On November 22, 1990, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher resigned after 11 years in office, the longest term of any British Prime Minister in the 20th century.
  • The apartheid system in South Africa finally came to an end on November 1, 1995, with the first all-race government elections.
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Famous November Birthdays

Statue of Mark Twain sitting on a bench

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  • Jonathan Swift, author of "Gulliver's Travels": November 30, 1667
  • Mark Twain, American author and humorist: November 30, 1835
  • British statesman Sir Winston Churchill: November 30, 1874
  • American artist Georgia O'Keeffe: November 15, 1887
  • Famed TV journalist Walter Cronkite: November 4, 1916
  • The first and, to date, only female Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi: November 19, 1917
  • Pulitzer-Prize winning poet Anne Sexton: November 9, 1928
  • Bruce Lee, martial artist and film star: November 27. 1940
  • Celebrity chef and restaurateur Gordon Ramsay: November 8. 1966