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Have a Greek New Year’s Eve! Eftihismenos O Kenourios Hronos!

by Maryann Pisano on December 26, 2014


New Year’s Day is a big holiday for Greeks because it’s St. Basil’s Day.  Many Greeks exchange presents in honor of the saint.

My family, along with many other Greeks, have a special tradition on New Year’s Day.  My mother bakes a delicious cake called vasilopita.  She wraps a quarter in foil and sticks it in the batter.  After the cake is cooked, my mom cuts the cake.  One piece goes to the house, one goes to Christ, one goes to Virgin Mary, one goes to St. Basil, and then the cake is distributed between family members.  The person who receives the piece of cake with the coin in it has good luck for the year.

Jan. 6 is Epiphany Day, which was Jesus’ Baptism by St. John.  In warm climates, young men dive into cold lakes or seas, and try to find the cross which has been blessed and thrown in by a priest.  The one that finds the cross has good luck for the year.

On Jan. 7, it is St. John’s Day.  Jan. 7 is the last day of all holiday festivities.

Eftihismenos O Kenourios Hronos!

Greek- American Tina Diamond Prevas talked to Emme about Greek traditions.  Both of her parents were born in Greece.  She wants to wish all Emme readers Eftihismenos O Kenourios Hronos! 

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Evan January 9, 2016 at 8:09 pm

My mom used to make basil opera as well. I really miss it and my sister and I never bothered to get the recipe from mom.

She used to put almonds on top for the new year. The crust was hard and the inside soft and a little dry. It was made with several spices but we can’t remember what they are.

Does anyone have a recipe that produces a cake that looks like the one in the above picture?


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