About St. Sylvester's Day
December 31st is the day of the feast of Pope Sylvester I, a saint who served as Pope of the Western Church from 314 to 335.
His fame stems from a medieval legend that says he was responsible for the conversion of emperor Constantine, an event which changed the course of human history.
The day is observed in Belgium, Germany, France and Switzerland and commemorates the death of Sylvester in 335 AD. In Germany, it is considered lucky to eat the traditional St. Sylvester's Day carp and to keep a few of the fish scales as a New Year's charm.
Since "Sylvester's Eve" is also New Year's Eve, many Germans and Austrians hold late-night parties. In Germany these festive gatherings may include drinking, eating, dancing, singing, and fortune-telling. The traditional method of St. Sylvester's Eve fortune-telling is called Bleigiessen. This technique involves melting a small lump of lead in a spoon held over a candle. The molten lead is cast into a bowl of cold water. It hardens into a distinctive shape which is then interpreted to represent some aspect of one's fortune for the coming year.