Do you know about Christmas? The Jolly Holiday that originated from Jesus's birthday, but became a holiday celebrated worldwide. Probably. Even if you don't celebrate it, you can look out your window and see holiday lights. You may even get a few gifts. BUT. Think of all the less well-known holidays that you've never even heard of. Ones like Krampusnacht, Saint Stephen's Day and Saint John the Evangelist's day. These are all celebrated in December just like Christmas. You'd be surprised how much they have in common.
Saint Sylvester was a bishop from 314 till he died (335). He was the pope of Rome in its early stages. He was the 33rd pope of Rome. He is the son of a roman named Rufinus. Not a lot is known about his life. His holiday is celebrated on december 31st.
Who is saint Sylvester
Saint Sylvester's past
Sylvester was born in Rome around the year 250. Not much is known about the young boy, but legends surround him. He took care of the Christians passing through the city. One person that Sylvester cared for was Timothy of Antioch, an well known confessor of the faith. When he arrived in Rome, Sylvester considered it an honor to take care of him. Sylvester selflessly continued to share his own home. After Timothy died as a martyr, Sylvester buried his remains, but was quickly accused of having hidden the martyr’s treasures, and the governor had him imprisoned. In reply to the accusation, Sylvester said, “Timothy left to me only the heritage of his faith and courage.” After the governor one day swallowed a fish bone and died, the guards set the brave young man free. Sylvester’s courageous acts became known to Pope Melchiades, who gave him the right to diaconate.
As Saint Sylvester’s Day is also New Year’s Eve, many people celebrate by holding late-night parties and have fun with friends and family, especially Germans and Austrians. The parties often include singing, dancing and eating. Mummers, or traditional masked mimes are common in these celebrations. Originally, the mummers would silently parade around, entering houses and greeting guests, occasionally playing dice with the residents. As time went on, the mummers started to beg for food and drinks. They normally performed a skit or poem of some sort as well. And, the celebrations became more grand and less silent.
What are some celebrations of saint Sylvester's day
In Germany, they have an extra celebration on Saint Sylvester’s Day; fortune telling. It is called Bleigiessen in German. This method of fortune telling includes melting a small mound of lead in a spoon, over a lit candle. The molten lead is put inside of a bowl with cold water, which causes the lead to harden. After it hardens, the lead transforms into a shape or an object, which represents someone’s good luck and fortune for the next year.
In past years, Germans used to celebrate Saint Sylvester’s Day by making lots of noise and parading around Germany.
In at least one town in Switzerland, bands of mummers (traditional masked mimes), parade all over the town. The group of mummers are known by the name, “Silvesterchlausen.” They parade around town wearing costumes, bells and even headdresses, on December 31st (Saint Sylvester’s Day) and January 13th (Saint Sylvester’s Day Old Style). As they march around town, they visit homes and are greeted by the residents, usually with wine. They also have a special custom of yodeling exactly 3 times while moving around town. v
What are the traditions and beliefs of Saint Sylvester’s Day?
In Vienna, Austria (the capital of the country), people walk pigs on leashes, in belief that they will have good luck in the coming year.
There is a belief in some parts of Austria, that an evil figure named Sylvester moved around town, haunting New Year’s Eve celebrations. He wore an ugly mask, a pale yellow beard, and a wreath of mistletoe. He lurked in the dark corners, until someone unknowingly walked under pine boughs hung from the ceiling of the house. Then, he jumped out and grabbed them, roughly kissing them. At midnight, the residents of the house guided Sylvester away, as the current year came to an end.
The evil figure Sylvester is thought to be connected with the actual saint’s name. The latin word, silva, meaning forest is often thought as to why the Austrian Sylvester wears a wreath made of mistletoe.
SUBSCRIBE TO MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL FOR MORE AMAZING CONTENT