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Learn a funny, quirky German word each week with DW's Word of the Week feature. This week: Silvester.

Image: picture-alliance /Mary Evans Picture Library
What comes to mind when you hear the word Sylvester? For many in the English speaking world, it's nothing more than a male name - usually attached to a Looney Tunes cartoon cat. But in Germany and a handful of other countries (Italy, France, Poland, the Czech Republic) 'Silvester', or a variation thereof, is a night to celebrate - ideally by going to a fancy party, drinking champagne and kissing your sweetheart at the stroke of midnight. The end of the year was first called 'Sylvester' back in 1582 AD, when the Gregorian calendar reform moved the last day of the year from Dec. 24 to Dec. 31 - the anniversary of the death of Pope Sylvester I. Of course, he probably never went to a fancy party, drank champagne, and kissed his sweethart at the stroke of midnight on December 31. So it’s a good thing we get to do it for him.