In Greece, like everywhere around the world, New Year’s Eve is special. Smashing pomegranates, hanging onions, and playing cards are just some of the unique traditions, but one special custom welcomes the New Year in every Greek household. Let’s discover the many ways New Year is welcomed and the special story of an age-old Greek New Year’s Eve tradition – Vasilopita.
Want to try delicious Vasilopita – traditional Greek New Year’s Cake?
Greek New Year’s Eve customs – old and new
December 31st is an important day in Greek households and many New Year’s Eve customs are completely unique. Onions are hung over the front door in many homes to help bring happiness, security and new growth. Pomegranates, ancient symbols of fortune and good luck, are smashed to release as many seeds as possible – more seeds, more good luck! Nowadays, lottery tickets and a card-playing marathon with family and friends until the early hours is a much-loved tradition for New Year’s luck and fortune!
Vasilopita – the most celebrated Greek New Year’s Custom
January 1st welcomes the New Year, but more importantly, in Greece it celebrates “Agios Vasilis” or St Basil’s Day. St Basil is celebrated as a beloved saint whose compassion and dedication helped the unfortunate and those in poverty. It is believed St Basil returned the coins and gold taken by the Emperor as taxes back to the people by baking them into bread and sharing the bread with his community.
Traditional Vasilopita – how to share with the family
Rich butter, spices, eggs and orange are used to create the delicious Vasilopita. Before baking, a lucky coin is added to the mixture. At midnight, everybody surrounds the table and the Vasilopita is sliced and offered first to the church and then to everyone in order of age. Whoever receives the coin will have good luck for the rest of the year!
Want to make Vasilopita at home? Browse our range of traditional Greek spices, quality flours and more here.
Celebrate Greek New Year with all the family – no matter where they are
Even if you can’t spend New Year’s Eve with the whole family, Olympian Specialty Products help you share traditional Greek treats with your loved ones anywhere in Australia and wish them health and happiness for the New Year.
Bring in the new year with delicious Greek New Year’s Cake. Buy your Greek Vasilopita here!