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The Late Movies: Spontaneous Dance Parties

If the Internet has taught us anything, it's this: Watching other people do things that make them happy makes us happy, too. The people in the following clips are joyfully dancing—often to the surprise of everyone else around them. These spontaneous dance parties—meaning done without warning, so spontaneous to viewers, not to participants—are sure to make you smile.

Philadelphia

Organized two months in advance, this video is super-cool because the organizer explains a little bit about her motivation. Approximately 40 dancers busted moves on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (of Rocky fame).

New York City

This small crew broke into dance on the subway in New York City. Though the video quality isn't the best here, these guys are pros. Watch as one dancer hits his head on the top of the train and keeps dancing.

Seattle

Whether you support Obama or not, the excitement on the evening of his election is undeniable. Along Broadway in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, this dance party erupted as people screamed the lyrics of "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey.

London

I'm not sure what's more impressive here: the fact that these people managed to do a pretty reasonable version of the "Thriller" dance on a moving train or the fact that one of the women is doing it in substantial heels.

Liverpool Street Station

Filmed last year for a British T-Mobile commercial, this is one of two clips in tonight's Late Movies that doesn't come from grassroots origins. This does not make it any less joyful to watch.

Belgium

This is the second professionally scripted clip. Created as a promotion for a Belgian television program looking for someone to play the leading role in The Sound of Music, the organizers gathered more than 200 people and in only two rehearsals, managed to pull of a dance performance of epic proportions.

Toronto

Sometimes, it's a dance party of one. This Toronto man is all over YouTube for his strange solo dance moves in public places.

Moscow

Since the makers of this video admit that their dance party was created after a night of boozing, it should serve as warning to all drinkers: You never look as good as you think when dancing under the influence. But that won't take away from the fun.

Quincy, Washington

At the 2009 Sasquatch Music Festival, one man with a mission created a huge dance party during Santogold's set.

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Bleat Along to Classic Holiday Tunes With This Goat Christmas Album
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Feeling a little Grinchy this month? The Sweden branch of ActionAid, an international charity dedicated to fighting global poverty, wants to goat—errr ... goad—you into the Christmas spirit with their animal-focused holiday album: All I Want for Christmas is a Goat.

Fittingly, it features the shriek-filled vocal stylings of a group of festive farm animals bleating out classics like “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” The recording may sound like a silly novelty release, but there's a serious cause behind it: It’s intended to remind listeners how the animals benefit impoverished communities. Goats can live in arid nations that are too dry for farming, and they provide their owners with milk and wool. In fact, the only thing they can't seem to do is, well, sing. 

You can purchase All I Want for Christmas is a Goat on iTunes and Spotify, or listen to a few songs from its eight-track selection below.

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What Are the 12 Days of Christmas?
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Everyone knows to expect a partridge in a pear tree from your true love on the first day of Christmas ... But when is the first day of Christmas?

You'd think that the 12 days of Christmas would lead up to the big day—that's how countdowns work, as any year-end list would illustrate—but in Western Christianity, "Christmas" actually begins on December 25th and ends on January 5th. According to liturgy, the 12 days signify the time in between the birth of Christ and the night before Epiphany, which is the day the Magi visited bearing gifts. This is also called "Twelfth Night." (Epiphany is marked in most Western Christian traditions as happening on January 6th, and in some countries, the 12 days begin on December 26th.)

As for the ubiquitous song, it is said to be French in origin and was first printed in England in 1780. Rumors spread that it was a coded guide for Catholics who had to study their faith in secret in 16th-century England when Catholicism was against the law. According to the Christian Resource Institute, the legend is that "The 'true love' mentioned in the song is not an earthly suitor, but refers to God Himself. The 'me' who receives the presents refers to every baptized person who is part of the Christian Faith. Each of the 'days' represents some aspect of the Christian Faith that was important for children to learn."

In debunking that story, Snopes excerpted a 1998 email that lists what each object in the song supposedly symbolizes:

2 Turtle Doves = the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

There is pretty much no historical evidence pointing to the song's secret history, although the arguments for the legend are compelling. In all likelihood, the song's "code" was invented retroactively.

Hidden meaning or not, one thing is definitely certain: You have "The Twelve Days of Christmas" stuck in your head right now.

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