Daily Calendar for Sunday, January 5, 2025

In the olden days, the festivities of Christmas lasted twelve days, which was the time supposed to have been taken by the three wise men or kings in their journey to Bethlehem.

The final evening (January 5) was called β€œTwelfth Night” and marked the end of Christmas festivities and, in ancient Celtic tradition, the end of the 12 Days of Christmas.

On this night, it was customary for the assembled company to toast each other from the wassail bowl. In Old English, wassail means β€œBe in good health,” but the term came to be applied to the drink itself (usually spiced ale). See our recipe for wassail

It was also traditional to cook the most wonderful pastries, cakes, and pies. Some included practical jokes. The β€œfour and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie” was no myth. Live birds were placed in a cooked pastry crust. When guests cut into the pie, the birds flew about the room, which delighted everyone. A kinder tradition included placing bread soaked with cider in tree branches for the birds to eat.

In the ancient times of the Roman Saturnalia, the β€œking of the feast” was elected by beans, and the Twelfth Night cake or β€œKing Cake” included a bean—or, later, a ring or coin. Whoever was given the slice with the prize became the queen and king for the night, and much parading and merriment followed.

In the church calendar, Twelfth Night is the evening before Epiphany (January 6). Because the three wise men (or kings) arrived in Bethlehem bearing gifts for the infant Jesus, Epiphany is also called Three Kings Day and a traditional time of gift giving. β€œ


  • Zebulon Montgomery Pike (explorer) –
  • King C. Gillette (inventor) –
  • Herbert Bayard Swope (journalist) –
  • Yves Tanguy (artist) –
  • Myrtle Alice Cook McGowan (athlete) –
  • Jane Wyman (actress) –
  • Sam Phillips (record company executive) –
  • William Dewitt Snodgrass (poet) –
  • Alvin Ailey (dancer) –
  • Robert Duvall (actor) –
  • Diane Keaton (actress) –
  • Bradley Cooper (actor) –


  • Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton (explorer) –
  • Calvin Coolidge (30th U.S. president) –
  • George Washington Carver (educator) –
  • Charlie Mingus (musician) –
  • Pistol Pete Maravich (basketball player) –
  • Thomas "Tip" O'Neill (Speaker of the House) –
  • Sonny Bono (actor, mayor of Palm Springs, and U.S. Congressman) –
  • Tug McGraw (baseball player) –
  • Jean-Paul L'Allier (Quebec City mayor) –
  • Jerry Van Dyke (actor) –


  • First divorce granted in the American Colonies–
  • New Hampshire was the first state to adopt a constitution–
  • A British naval expedition led by Benedict Arnold burned Richmond, Virginia–
  • The word hamburger first appeared in print in the Walla Walla Union, Walla Walla, Washington–
  • The first successful photo of an aurora was made by physicist Martin Brendel–
  • First Trans-Pacific (California to Hawaii) cable opened to public use–
  • Fannie Farmer’s last lecture–
  • Nellie Taylor Ross of Wyoming became first woman governor in American history–
  • Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge began in San Francisco, California–
  • United Mine Workers official Joseph A. Yablonski and his wife and daughters were found slain in their Clarksville, Pennsylvania home–
  • President Nixon ordered NASA to begin work on a manned space shuttle–
  • Arkansas law requiring creationism to be taught in public schools struck down by Federal court–
  • President Ronald Reagan submitted the first $1 trillion budget to Congress–
  • Reggie Jackson elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame –
  • Robert Nuranen returned a library book he had checked out for a 9th-grade assignment, along with a check for 47 year’s worth of late fees—$171.32–
  • World’s highest cable-stayed bridge opened spanning a deep ravine in the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains–


  • Twenty degrees below zero F, Hanover, New Hampshire–
  • Record cold morning in East: -24 degrees F in New Haven, Connecticut, and -40 degrees F in the Berkshire Hills–
  • Severe Artic outbreak: Des Moines -30 degrees F, Indianapolis -25 degrees F–
  • Eleven degrees F in Athens, Georgia–

Explore Other Dates on the Calendar