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Saturday, 31 December 2016

New Years's bread

2016

All our taxes have been paid for 2016.   Another year is almost gone and we survived and thrived.

The year is almost over 
 Time to make 
-Vasilopita. The cake or pie of St Basil (Vasili) whose fiesta is on the 1st of January.

 In our area this is a sweet cake  with a coin in it.  Elsewhere it maybe a meat pie or a loaf of sweet plaited bread.  The coin is pressed in after making the sign of the cross.  Of course the person who finds it in their slice is the lucky one for the New Year.  

The coin used to be put 'naked' into the loaf.  Nowadays it is 'sanitised' and wrapped in a piece of silver paper first. 



At midnight on New Years Eve the Patriarch (head of the family)  takes the knife, scores a cross into the cake and starts to cut.  The first slice in our house is cut for the Virgin Mary, then there is a slice for the house, the land, the animals and then on down from the oldest to the youngest.

- secondly we make another big loaf of bread to be cut at the meal on New Year's Day.  This time I'll make sure the dough is slightly less so it doesn't rise  up to the top of the oven.  This too has a coin hidden in it and the same ceremony takes place as with the Vasilopita.  Plenty of chances for everyone to find this year's coin.

Little hands poke hopeful fingers through their piece trying to find the lucky coin.  A clever patriarch will poke about too...before cutting the bread.   As he cuts the bread he is always on the lookout for a flash of silver (or bronze) and a very clever father with two children will cut the portions so the coin is in the middle of  his two little darlings' pieces....

and there will be no cries of 'but he got it LAST year, it's not fair'.


My mother-in-law would take the coin (whoever won it) and place it on the shelf under the icons on wall of her house.

Usually the coin will be just a 20c piece.  I may put a two euro coin in ours this year.  Then the receiver will be truly blessed.  2 euros is not to be sneezed at these days.



We had small children banging on our door once again early in the morning and singing us the New Year's carol.  

Festivities have started.

My best wishes for all of you.  May you enjoy good health throughout the coming year.  If you have good health then anything is possible.  A little bit of wealth always helps.  I wish you love and warmth and the company of those most precious to you.  Cheers.


18 comments:

  1. That is a lovely tradition! Thanks for sharing with us. -Jenn

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    1. Thanks Jenn. We've just come back from cutting the first cake. Couldn't find the coin and we all kept on cutting and poking until it turned up in the last piece cut for other son in law in extended family!! It was lots of fun

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  2. I am so glad to have found your blog and you found mine Linda. I enjoy reading about your Greek life which in some ways is not so different from my rural life in England. It helps to put into perspective for me that all things about Greece are not doom and gloom that I read about. May the coming year for you be fun and carry on with good things about which I look forward to hearing. Rachelxx

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    1. You're right about similar ways in both countries. Small communities especially are so similar. Greeks do moan and groan about the financial mess but that will never stop them from enjoying life. Singing and dancing is in their blood.

      Thanks for your great comments. I enjoy writing it all down and am glad that someone else beside my family is reading it all!

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  3. Happy New Year Linda and family. Wishing you a fabulous 2017!

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    1. Thanks Sol. I wish you all the best. And may we all keep on reading together. I owe you a book review

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  4. Wishing you well in 2017.Happy New Year.
    It's nice getting to know you.

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    1. Thank you and wishing you a joyful new year with good health

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  5. Best wishes for you and your family in the new year
    May you truly be blessed no matter who gets the coin

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    1. Didn't get the coin but ate a lot of the cake-s!

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  6. Bakers here used to make 5 kilo round loaves which lasted a whole week; these are now quite rare. It was tradition to draw a cross with the knife on the underside of the loaf before cutting into it. Even though I'm a strict atheist I always used to do this myself, as I thought it was such a nice tradition.

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    1. My mother in law made 5-6 huge loaves and they'd be eating them for a couple of weeks. Glad those days are over. Two week old bread was hard and dry.

      Times have changed. Loaves are fresh everyday. We have one baker in a town nearby who makes huge loaves. They cut great chunks off and sell them. Terrific bread

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  7. Happy new year to you and your family, again what a interesting and beautiful post,i like it;)

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    1. Thanks yael . More traditions coming up soon. After January 6 kids go back to school and life gets routine again

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  8. Happy New Year LA. It's great to read about the Greek traditions. Think you have a book there.

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    1. Thanks for reminding me about the book. Something to achieve in 2017

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  9. Such interesting New Year's traditions from across the world. I think the one that sticks out most in my memory came from England, where men with dark hair were coveted for being the first one through the front door hopefully the homeowner, but if no dark hair then you had to run around the block with a piece of coal in their hand :)
    My dad had auburn hair, so always a piece of coal was sought out, and rather difficult in the days of gas-fired fireplaces.
    Here's wishing you and yours the Happiest and Healthiest of New Years !
    Hugs,
    ~Jo

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    1. Blonde kids here are preferred for first footing. Heaven knows why. Otherwise any cute innocent child will do.

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