Why New year’s Eve is called St. Sylvestre


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Even though, the New Year’s Eve celebration is a tradition that goes back to Roman times, in France, New Year’s Eve is also called the Saint Sylvester’s Eve.

Saint Sylvester was the 33rd pope in Rome. He lived during the era of Constantine the Great and seemed to do a pretty good job of keeping one step ahead of trouble. When a Roman prefect tried to arrest him for sheltering a Christian called Timothy, the prefect choked on a fish bone before he could get around to bringing in Sylvester.

Saint Sylvester is also credited with bringing about the conversion of Emperor Constantine. Constantine suffered from leprosy and considered that Sylvester’s intervention had brought about a miracle.

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Saint Sylvester died on December 31st in A.D. 335. He was buried in the Priscilla’s cemetery.
For the full story (in French) check out Vivat
or St. Sylvester and the Malahide Well (in English)

The Roman tradition of New Year’s Eve revolves around eating as much food as possible until the new year rolls in. The more you eat, the more prosperous you’ll be in the coming year. It sounds like the perfect recipe for indigestion.


3 thoughts on “Why New year’s Eve is called St. Sylvestre

  • Angélique Lutzner

    Hi,
    Thank you for the explanation of St Sylvestre.
    I think you are right for the indigestion by eating so much until New Year coming.

  • Parisgirl

    Hey Angie! You’re back. Was overindulgence the downfall of the Romans? But, certainly not the Parisians. I think the Parisians are generally ‘tres sage’ when it comes to holiday meals.

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