Happy New Year to all !!! May 2012 bring us all health and joy.
The holidays are basically over and now it's time to get back to work even though here in Greece we have another big holiday coming on the 6th of January the Theofania (Epiphany). There's no work on that day and all the stores are closed as well ( I will explain Theofania in another upcoming post).
The pie you see in the photo is called Vasilopita which means St. Basil's pie. It's a traditional New Year's pie that every household bakes for this day and it's the first thing we eat so that everything will be sweet in the new year. Inside the pie there's a coin hidden. At midnight when the year changes the father or grandfather using a knife symbolically carves a cross over the pie 3 times before slicing it. Every slice is dedicated or called for a specific person. The first slice belongs to Christ, the second slice to the Virgin Mary, the third slice to St. Vasilios, the fourth slice goes to the poor and thereafter every slice goes from the oldest to the youngest in the family and guests present. The last piece just belongs to the house. Whoever finds the coin in his/her slice is considered to be the lucky one of the year. If the coin is in one of the first four slices then it is offered to the church or someone who is poor.
It is said that St. Vasilios (St. Basil) was a well-educated and wealthy man who gave all his fortune to help the poor and needy people. One story says that in order to help out the poor without insulting them or embarrassing them he devised this trick of making little pies and hiding a coin in them before offering them the pies. In time this little pie was named after him and was an offering of joy and blessings.
Also, we celebrate St.Vasilios on the 1st of January and everybody named Vasilios or Vasiliki (the female version) celebrate as well receiving gifts and wishes just like a birthday! (read post about Name Days)
Check out my post with the Vasilopita recipe!