New Year’s Eve Jewish Stop And Think Moment

hilary partyBefore you celebrate New Year’s eve you might want to read this:

Throughout the medieval and post-medieval periods, January 1 – supposedly the day on which Jesus’ circumcision initiated the reign of Christianity and the death of Judaism – was reserved for anti-Jewish activities: synagogue and book burnings, public tortures, and simple murder.

The Israeli term for New Year’s night celebrations, “Sylvester,” was the name of the “Saint” and Roman Pope who reigned during the Council of Nicaea (325 C.E.).  The year before the Council of Nicaea convened, Sylvester convinced Constantine to prohibit Jews from living in Jerusalem.  At the Council of Nicaea, Sylvester arranged for the passage of a host of viciously anti-Semitic legislation.  All Catholic “Saints” are awarded a day on which Christians celebrate and pay tribute to that Saint’s memory.  December 31 is Saint Sylvester Day – hence celebrations on the night of December 31 are dedicated to Sylvester’s memory.

I’m staying at home with a glass of Glenmorangie.

Aussie Dave adds: I covered this (more or less) 3 years ago. But no harm in a reminder.

About Brian of London

Brian of London is not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy. Since making aliyah in 2009, Brian has blogged at Israellycool. Brian's interests include electric cars, world peace and an end to world hunger. Besides blogging here, Brian of London now writes at the Times of Israel. Brian of London also hosted Shire Network News

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  • Jim from Iowa

    Hey Brian. Party like it’s 1499!

  • Norman B.

    Sylvester?? Thufferin’ thuccotash!!!

  • Jim from Iowa

    Well, it does appear that some of us Goyim haven’t been all that Jew-friendly in the past. But that is all in the past, right? Why not take a hint from The Times of Israel and offer the hand of friendship by naming an IsraellyCool “Goy of the Year” for 2012? I know time is fleeting, but how long would it take to throw something up on the website. Assuming a re-elected Obama would not be the overwhelming choice of your readership, how about a safe choice in Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper?

  • Bubbe

    I have it on good authority that Be’er Sheva is rocking this New Year’s Eve. ;-)

  • juvanya

    Ive decided to start calling it “Silvester” in mockery of the debauchery. Its such a boring day and an odd time to start a year. Its also deceptive in that everyone is free, but everyone has plans, which usually involve copious amounts of alcohol, which disinterests me greatly.

  • tom

    Ok, now to clear things up:
    In Christianity, or more precisely in the Gregorian calendar, each day has a “name”. The 31st of December is referred to as “Sylvester”. Apart from Israel many European countries refer to the New Year’s Eve as “Sylvester” and the following day as “New Year” or “New Year’s Day” (just like in the U.S., I think)

    So it’s not just Israelis, but sadly enough they use this term.

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