New Years marks the beginning of a new year… of course! Many of you might have a certain thing you do every New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day (maybe that’s recovering from last night’s activities!).
Maybe it’s that black eyed pea dish so many make. For my family, as do so many Greek families, we have a New Years Tradition: Vasiloplita.
Vasilopita can either be a sweet bread or coffee cake type of cake that is made every year just before New Years and is cut on New Year’s Day. It represents Christianity, family, love and wishes for good fortune. What makes this treat so special is a coin that is dropped into the cake, hidden somewhere in the batter, before baking, and everyone waits the cutting of the cake with anticipation to get the coin.
Traditionally, the sign of the cross is etched with a knife across the cake before being cut, and then pieces are cut ceremoniously by the head of the household and then allocated in the following order to: the church (Holy Trinity and Virgin Mary), then the head of the household, then his wife, then their children (oldest to youngest), other family members by degree of relatedness, then guests. The coin or small medallion is a tradition symbolizing good fortune for the coming year for whoever gets the piece.
The name VASILOPITA comes from 2 words.. Vasilias, meaning “King Basil” and Pita meaning “Pie”. St. Basil was known for his generosity to the poor, and he would hide coins anonymously in cakes and give them to the needy.
I’ll be spending part of the day on New Year’s Eve baking my Vasilopites.
And I’m partial to this day….
It’s my dad’s birthday.. January 1. And because of that, his momma did name him Basil. … I always called him my “Baby New Year” when I was a little girl.
Happy Birthday dad!
… and many wishes for a prosperous, healthy, purposeful, happy new year to all of you!