The night of the Holy Sylvester, the last night of the year, has always been the night of fools and a funny good time. The saint of this day, Pope Sylvester I, according to legend is the man who was healed from leprosy and baptized the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great.
There was a great amount of drinking, dancing and singing at the Sylvester Balls held that night. As the old year ended and the new year was about begin, everyone refilled their glasses with champagne or wine. Then the hugs and kissing began, accompanied with ein gutes neues Jahr. The bells throughout Germany rang and many revelers ran out in the streets to enjoy the merry sounds. There was usually some private fireworks displays and the sounds of shooting was often heard along with the ringing bells.
Naturally, there were some superstitions connected with Sylvester. People dropped molten lead into cold water and then interpreted the shape it made into a future event they believed would take place in the coming year. If the shape could be interpreted into a heart or a ring, it meant a wedding, a ship meant a journey, a pig meant there would be a year of plenty, etc.
Traditionally, carp was eaten on Sylvester; it was believed it brought future wealth. It was also important to leave a bit of each type of food on the dinner plate, which was to remain there until after midnight. This insured that they would have plenty of food throughout the coming year.