New Year's Eve
New Year's Eve is the last day of the year, 31 December. It is followed by New Year's Day on 1 January, the first day of the next year. On New Year's Eve, festivities are celebrated in many countries around the world. New Year's Day takes its name from Pope Sylvester, who died on 31 December some 1700 years ago. The Pope is the head of the Catholic Church.
There was already a celebration at the end of the year in ancient times, with the Romans. They started it when they made the year begin on 1 January and no longer on 1 March. The fire festivals on the last day of the year come from the Germanic tribes. New Year's Eve fireworks as we know them therefore have a long history. The new year is welcomed with fireworks at midnight, and most churches ring all their bells.
One of the world's largest New Year's Eve celebrations takes place annually in Berlin at the Brandenburg Gate. Hundreds of thousands of people celebrate there together under the open sky. Fireworks are not allowed. But there are fireworks that last a good ten minutes and are fired off like a work of art by pyrotechnicians, i.e. fireworks experts.
But there are also many people who prefer to celebrate New Year's Eve at home. They often watch the funny programme "Dinner for One", which is shown by television every New Year's Eve. Some people invite friends over, celebrate the evening with a particularly nice meal and toast with their drinking glasses at midnight. In doing so, they wish each other good luck in the New Year.
Many peoples and cultures celebrate the New Year. But often it is not on 1 January. Their first day of the New Year is later in January, in February or in March. This is because their calendar is still Julian or works according to the moon. Or for them, the new year actually begins with spring.