Sylvester. That's what they call New Year's Eve here in Israel. I haven't the faintest idea why, and I'm not sure anyone else does either. I guess "New Year's Eve" was already taken by the Jewish New Year's Eve (Erev Rosh Hashanah) and something other than the distant runner up "the secular New Year's Eve" - blech - needed to be chosen. So Sylvester it is.
Just because they gave it a name though doesn't mean that they made it a holiday. New Year's Day is just another work day here, and having to get up early for school and work the following morning takes more than a bit of the fun out of celebrating. I mean really, who wants to go out carousing until 2am, only to have to be up at 7 to get the kids out on time? We've occasionally marked the evening with a low-key gathering of friends, but just as often we've stayed home and done nothing. In truth, I don't miss going out on New Year's Eve itself all that much. I'm getting a bit too old for all the carousing and raucous parties, and too concerned about drunk drivers (admittedly less of a concern in a country where few drink to excess and even fewer celebrate but still, it only takes one...), not to mention too aware of the utter impossibility of getting a babysitter on New Year's Eve.
What I do miss though is the sleeping in the next morning, then spending the day lounging around the house watching parades (or football, depending on your personal proclivities - I'm a parade girl myself). There's nothing like that relaxed morning after kind of day. The Rose Parade (oh how I'd love to see that someday), the Orange Parade (I actually did see that one in person once), all those wonderful floats... I haven't seen a New Year's parade in nearly 20 years. (My god, when did I get old enough to say something like that???).
I love living here, and I really love the fact that even at the end of December I'm likely to be outside on a sunny afternoon in nothing but a sweatshirt, but still, couldn't we have a proper New Year's too? I've had enough of Sylvester non-occasions. I want a parade.