Dispatches: December-themed Main Page
For December 2008, Wikipedians discussed a thematic Did You Know (DYK) section for the Main Page. On November 2, following up on the successful Halloween theme for October 31 (related story), How do you turn this on asked if regular contributors at DYK would like to see a Christmas theme for the DYK section. A discussion about Main page bias surrounding themes occurred, with Karanacs calling for "submissions [to] include articles related to Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, and the Islamic New Year" and suggestions that the hooks cover a theme week.
Did You Know highlights Wikipedia's newest content (related story). To qualify for Did You Know, an article must be new or expanded more than fivefold, have at least 1500 characters of prose and should be created five days or fewer before it is nominated. The article should be well-written and cited to reliable sources. Hooks should be catchy and interesting – preferably something most readers wouldn't know before seeing the hook.
In addition to the 2008 Halloween theme and the December theme, Wikipedia has featured a thematic St. Patrick's Day mainpage in the past, and has a three-year tradition of a thematic Main page on April Fools' Day (related story).
In 2007, three DYK hooks with a Christmas theme were promoted, even though there was not a pre-planned theme.
2007: Did you know...
- ... that Philippine Christmas lanterns, called Parols (pictured), are also used in Christmas celebrations in Austria, Canada and California?
- ... that according to the Christmas Price Index it will cost your true love US$78,100 to buy you all those gifts this year?
- ... that U.S. Salvation Army Christmas kettles have collected not only American Gold Eagles, but also gold teeth?
For 2008, a task force page of articles that were good targets for expansion was established; about 22 articles were expanded and featured as DYK hooks on December 25, alternating with other hooks. Samples included:
2008: Did you know...
- ... that the 1965 broadcast of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" is credited with ending the era of the aluminum Christmas tree (pictured, left)?
- ... that Robert Wells and Mel Tormé wrote "The Christmas Song" in the sweltering July heat as a means of keeping themselves cool?
- ... that Bóg się rodzi, a Polish Christmas carol, has been called "one of the most beloved Polish Christmas carols"?
- ... that the Berner Haselnusslebkuchen, a traditional Christmas cookie from Switzerland, is a lebkuchen made from ground hazelnuts?
- ... that the 2002 album Happy Clucking Holidays consists of Christmas songs performed by Dirk Keysser clucking like a chicken?
- ... that Paul Lynde, who played the lead role in the 1977 U.S. television special 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, was responsible for casting fellow actor Martha Raye as his character's mother-in-law?
- ... that the Star of Bethlehem by Edward Burne-Jones, the largest watercolour painting of the 19th century, is based on his 1887 tapestry design depicting the Adoration of the Magi?
- ... that American Civil War soldiers celebrated Christmas by using salt pork and hardtack as ornaments on Christmas trees?
- ... that the village of Christmas Common was the home of philologist and lexicographer William Craigie?
- ... that Christmas Island National Park hosts the world's largest population of the world's largest land invertebrate, the Coconut crab?
The Picture of the Day, which highlights featured pictures, extended the Christmas theme. It featured a photochrom of a Russian reindeer sled (pictured below). The public domain image was selected from the U.S. Library of Congress archives and featured in August 2008.
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