Google "meaning of the number 12" and you'll see hundreds of results detailing the significance of 12 with examples in science, time, sports and religion, among others.
There are 12 animals of the Chinese Horoscope and 12 signs in the Western zodiac. There are 12 months in a year, 12 hues on a color wheel, 12 apostles of Jesus, 12 Tribes of Israel and 12 principal gods of the Pantheon. These days, a lot of people are singing about the 12 days of Christmas.
Twelve is also a special number for a John Jay Middle School sixth grader named Courtney Kaufman, who celebrates her 12th birthday on Dec. 12, 2012.
"I've been looking forward to this day my whole life, ever since I realized it would happen," she said.
This month is full of celebrations, said her mother, Jennifer Kaufman.
"My daughter Nicole is turning 14 on Dec. 30, plus we're expecting about 50 relatives at our home for a huge holiday party. We have a huge Irish Catholic family on my mom's side and we'll all be celebrating Courtney's special birthday," she said.
Courtney said what she looks forward to most about this birthday is the chance to celebrate with her close friend, whose birthday is six days after hers.
"I hope we can go into the city, see the tree [at Rockefeller Center] and go to Dylan's Candy Bar," she said of her dream day.
Family is important, too, she said. In addition to her sister, Courtney has a brother, Thompson, age eight, and grandparents with whom she is very close.
"I'm looking forward to playing softball with my grandpa. And baking. I love chocolate cheese cake."
Though she'll start the day like any other, heading off to spend the day at school, Courtney said this birthday will feel unique.
"It's going to be a long time before this happens again," she said.