Vasilopita (New Year’s Cake)

It’s a Greek tradition to bake a Vasilopita, also known as the New Year cake, which we cut in the household as the new year enters. The cake contains a hidden coin and the person who finds it in their piece is known to be a lucky person for the year. It’s usually decorated with icing sugar and the new year’s number.

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History of the coin:
In Greek tradition vasilopita is associated with a legend of Saint Basil. According to one story, St. Basil called on the citizens of Caesarea to raise a ransompayment to stop the siege of the city. Each member of the city gave whatever they had in gold and jewellery. When the ransom was raised, the enemy was so embarrassed by the act of collective giving that he called off the siege without collecting payment. St. Basil was then tasked with returning the unpaid ransom, but had no way to know which items belonged to which family. So he baked all of the jewellery into loaves of bread and distributed the loaves to the city, and by a miracle each citizenreceived their exact share, the legend goes. In some tellings the sieging chieftain is replaced with an evil emperor levying a tax, or simply with St. Basil attempting to give charity to the poor without embarrassing them. (Source; Wikipedia)

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