New Year’s Eve, also known as Silvester

With this post, New Zealand will see the new year, to be followed very soon after by Australia in a couple of hours. It’s the middle of New Year’s Eve day here in Europe, and North America is waking up to the same.

Why is New Year’s Eve referred in some countries as Silvester?  Here’s why, courtesy of Deutsche Welle’s Word of the Week feature:

… For many in the English speaking world, it (Sylvester) is nothing more than a male name – usually attached to a Looney Tunes cartoon cat. But in Germany and a handful of other countries (Italy, France, Poland, the Czech Republic) ‘Silvester’, or a variation thereof, is a night to celebrate – ideally by going to a fancy party, drinking champagne and kissing your sweetheart at the stroke of midnight. The end of the year was first called ‘Sylvester’ back in 1582 AD, when the Gregorian calendar reform moved the last day of the year from Dec. 24 to Dec. 31 – the anniversary of the death of Pope Sylvester I. …

In Germany, December 25 and 26 are named, respectively, “1. und 2. Weihnachtstag” (1st and 2nd Christmas Day).  Also, December 31 and January 1 are “Silvester” and “Neujahr”, respectively.

Tomorrow, I’ll post about some of the (electronic) tools I have with me and use on travel.

HL, 1200h CET – 31 Dec 2010

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