Growing up in a Greek-American household, holidays were always a mix of the modern and the traditional. So at Christmas you had the egregiously long Greek Orthodox Church services as well as Christmas trees and Santa Claus. One tradition I always liked was the cutting of the New Year’s bread, known as Vasilopita. My mom would wrap a quarter in wax paper and cook it into the bottom of the bread. On New Year’s Day my father would cut and distribute pieces of the bread around the table. If you got the quarter, it meant you’d have a lucky year.
The origin of the bread is attributed to St. Basil and a rather strange wealth redistribution scheme involving baked goods. When the bread is first cut, the first few pieces are dedicated to Jesus, the Virgin Mary, St. Basil, and “the poor”. The natural result of this is that some years Jesus gets the lucky coin. Now the poor getting a break was always OK by me, but try telling a kid that he can’t have good luck because it went to Jesus. Oh yeah, Jesus, I’m sure you need that lucky quarter. I guess being the Son of God just isn’t enough!
We didn’t have any Vasilopita today; New Year’s being a fairly mellow affair with just Nicole and Kate. I did make a big breakfast for everyone and Nicole whipped up some mimosas to go with it. Even without the quarter, I felt lucky to have another year with my girls to look forward to.
Here’s hoping for a good year for everybody.