Everyone has their “favorite” family gathering whether it be birthdays, reunions,
weddings or picnics, but there is one family tradition that celebrates the good in people and happens to be an event that is fun, meaningful and special for one lucky person at the start of each New Year.
The event is the cutting of the Vasilopita (Vah-see-lo-peetah).
Generations have been celebrating the Vasilopita cutting predominantly in the families of Orthodox Faith.
The Tradition itself revolves around the epic story of a great man who was known for his incredible philanthropy and who is also credited as being the father of the modern day hospital. The man is St. Basil the Great and the Catholic Church refers to him as the “Doctor” of the Church.
The Vasilopita Tradition begins with a specially made cake that tastes like one of the best coffee cakes you’ve ever had, baked with an actual Golden Coin inserted into the batter. On New Year’s Day either as its own affair, or as a dessert celebration, the entire family sits around the dinner table as the
head of the household begins the ceremonial cutting of the Vasilopita cake.
Children and adults alike anxiously wait as each piece of cake is cut, to see if their piece reveals the hidden Golden Coin. Tradition says that the person who wins the Golden Vasilopita Coin receives good fortune for the coming New Year and the others look forward to getting the coin next year!
With the simple hope of finding the coin, a beautiful and lasting family tradition continues. If you’ve experienced the Vasilopita in your past, keep it alive; if you haven’t, start your own New Year’s family tradition this year!
With the fast pace of today’s world, families are so enriched when they spend more quality time together. Regardless of your faith, this is a joyous and heartwarming experience, and when you look into the history of the man that brought it about, you begin to appreciate the tradition even more. Tim Papadeas of PatmosPress.com whose father designed and minted the official Golden Vasilopita Coin remembers; “Growing up in an Orthodox home in New York, I used to look forward to New Year’s Day with almost the same excitement as Christmas. Today, I continue to celebrate the Vasilopita with my children and I see in them, the very same joy and anticipation that I remember”.
Take a few minutes to Google “Vasilopita” or “The story of St. Basil the Great” and you’ll see the beauty for yourself. Bake the cake and you’ll enjoy a distinctive and delicious flavor as well. Put this on your “to do” list for your family and for future generations, you’ll truly be glad you did. Find the
story, a cake recipe and the official Golden Vasilopita Coin online at www.Vasilopita.com.
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