A traditional ceremony had taken place today at our Church: the cutting of the so-called “Vasilopita”, or New Year’s Cake.
Vasilopita is associated with Saint Basil's day on January 1 in the Eastern Orthodox Calendar.
On New Year's Day the Vasilopita is cut in Churches and in homes. The Greek families cut the Vasilopita to bless the house and bring good luck for the new year.
It is traditional to bake a coin into the Vasilopita (St. Basil's cake). The one who receives the coin is considered to be especially blessed for the year.
A piece of cake is sliced for each member of the family and any visitors present at the time. Slices are also cut for various other people or groups, depending on local and family tradition. They may include the Virgin Mary, St. Basil, the local Patron Saint, the poor and the visitors.
Vasilopita is made in honor of a beautiful act of charity by St. Basil to the poor and needy of his flock.
In order to insure that the needy would have money for life's necessities, and knowing that the needy were also proud people, St. Basil had the ladies of his church bake sweet bread with coins baked into them. In this way he could give them money without demeaning them at all.
Happy New Year to all!