Anyone who has lived overseas will tell you that it is the unpredictable and unfamiliar that reinvigorates you, opens your eyes, and changes your perception of life. Such was the case as we counted down to the new year by joining the Bavarian throng to celebrate "Silvester."
"Silvester,"according to "The Local," is the German name for New Year's Eve ever since the Gregorian calendar in 1582 was changed to make the last day of the year December 31. It was then that St. Sylvester's day was known as New Years Eve. The New Year's traditions are directly related to the pagan Rauhnachte practices of heathen Germanic tribes that took place at the end of December.
The Germanic tribes observed twelve Rauhnachte ---hairy nights--due to furry forms of the deep winter demons, or Rauchnachte--smoky nights, due to the practice of smoking the spirits out of one's house on Jan. 5. Back in those days, Silvester took place right in the middle of the twelve Rauhnacte and was the night of the god Wotan's wild hunt, a time of particular comotion and celebration. It is said that from this we have developed the "Twelve Days of Christmas."
But, perhaps to emphasize how different cultures celebrate with different traditions, the jelly roll doughnut plays an important part of the German New Year's Eve. The jelly roll is a treat for the Germans on this day, but planted somewhere on the plate of doughnuts will be a mustard filling rather than the popular strawberry or raspberry. This funny surprise is for one of the