Today In Fact, 31 December

The end of the year. In my youth this was a time of parties and romantic trysts, a time of new beginnings and drunken revels, a time when the scaly crust of the year quickly passing was shrugged off and thrown down like a gauntlet.

In countries touched by the madness of Scottish folk ways, this is the beginning of Hogmanay. Hogmanay is probably an ancient pre-Christian revel but it seems to have sprung to prominence around 1600 when Scotland adopted the Gregorian calendar and moved it’s New Year from the 25 March to 1 January.

In other parts of Europe and the Middle East this day is known simply as “Silvester”. Silvester I was a Pope who took advantage of the Roman Emperor Constantine’s newly found love of all things Christian. From 314 until his death on this day in 335, Pope Silvester ensured the Church gained enormous land, properties and rights. Considered a saint, very little is known about him except that he fully participated in the creation of Christendom as a political and imperial reality.

– Posted by Douglas Racionzer (