December 31 is the 365th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. It is known by a collection of names including: Saint Sylvester’s Day, New Year’s Eve or Old Years Day/Night, as the following day is New Year’s Day. It is the last day of the year; the following day is January 1, the first day of the following year.
We have some interesting facts & historic events all about December 31st, including areas in religion, crime, health and more.
Keep reading for more interesting facts about December 31st in history!
Table of Contents
- No Interruptions Day
- Make Up Your Mind Day
What Happened On This Day – December 31
2009: Both a Blue Moon and lunar eclipse occured on the same day
The next such event to happen on New Year’s eve will be in 2028.
1994: Date skipped in Kiribati
The Phoenix Islands and the Line Islands in Kiribati skip December 31st due to a change in their time zone from UTC−11:00 to UTC+13:00 and UTC−10:00 to UTC+14:00, respectively.
1983: Coup in Nigeria
A military coup in Nigeria overthrew the civilian government of Shehu Shagari and installed Maj-Gen Muhammadu Buhari.
1909: Manhattan Bridge opens for traffic
The Manhattan Bridge, one of the first suspension bridges ever constructed, was opened to traffic on this day. The bridge was designed by Leon Moisseiff and crosses the East River in New York City.
1907: The first annual ball drop at Times Square
The annual tradition of dropping a ball at 11:59 pm to mark the start of the New Year was organized for the first time by Adolph Ochs, the owner of the New York Times.
1943: Native Americans in WW2 – General Douglas MacArthur meeting Navajo, O’odham, Pawnee and other native troops on 31 December 1943.
Births On This Day, December 31
1990: Patrick Chan, Canadian figure skater
1980: Richie McCaw, New Zealand rugby union footballer
1977: Psy, South Korean singer-songwriter, rapper, producer, dancer
1941: Alex Ferguson, Scottish footballer, manager
1869: Henri Matisse, French painter
Deaths On This Day, December 31
2015: Natalie Cole, American singer-songwriter, actress
1985: Ricky Nelson, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, actor
1980 Marshall McLuhanCanadian author, theorist
1972: Roberto Clemente, Puerto Rican baseball player
1889: Ion Creangă, Romanian author, educator