Christmas in Greece

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Christmas in Greece
Vasilopita / Epiphany
Vasilopita
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Vasilopita (Greek: Βασιλόπιτα, Vasilópita, lit. '(St.) Basil-pie' or 'king pie',
see below) is a New Year's Day bread or cake in Greece and many other
areas in eastern Europe and the Balkans which contains a hidden coin or
trinket which gives good luck to the receiver, like the Western European
king cake. It is associated with Saint Basil's day , January 1, in most of
Greece, but in some regions, the traditions surrounding a cake with a
hidden coin are attached to Epiphany or to Christmas. It is made of a
variety of doughs, depending on regional and family tradition, including
tsoureki.
On New Year's Day families cut the vasilopita to bless the house and bring
good luck for the new year. This is usually done at the midnight of New
Year's Eve. A coin is hidden in the bread by slipping it into the dough
before baking. At midnight the sign of the cross is etched with a knife
across the cake. A piece of cake is sliced for each member of the family
and any visitors present at the time, by order of age from eldest to
youngest. Slices are also cut for various symbolic people or groups,
depending on local and family tradition. They may include the Lord, St.
Basil and other saints, the poor, the household, or the Kallikantzaroi. In
older times, the coin often was a valuable one, such as a gold sovereign.
Nowadays there is often a prearranged gift, money, or otherwise, to be
given to the coin recipient.
Saint Basil's Feast Day is observed on January 1, the beginning of the
New Year and the Epiphany season known as the Vasilopita Observance.
Epiphany (holiday)
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The Christian feast day. For other uses, see Epiphany.
Epiphany Also called Epiphany, Theophany Observed by Christians Type Church
service, winter swimming SignificanceIn Western Christianity: commemoration of the
Adoration of the Magi, with subordinate commemorations of the Baptism of Jesus and
the Wedding at Cana. In Eastern Christianity: commemoration of the Baptism of Jesus
only.Date January 6 (Gregorian Calendar)
January 19 (Gregorian equivalent of Julian Calendar January 6)Frequencyannual
Related toChristmastide, Christmas, Baptism of the Lord, Nativity of Christ Epiphany
(Koine Greek: ἐπιφάνεια, epiphaneia, "manifestation", "striking appearance") or
Theophany (Ancient Greek (ἡ) Θεοφάνεια, Τheophaneia meaning "vision of God"),
which traditionally falls on January 6, is a Christian feast day that celebrates the
revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ. Western Christians
commemorate principally (but not solely) the visit of the Magi to the Baby Jesus, and
thus Jesus' physical manifestation to the Gentiles. Eastern Christians commemorate
the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, seen as his manifestation to the world as
the Son of God.
Eastern Churches following the Julian Calendar observe the Theophany feast on what
for most countries is January 19 because of the 13-day difference today between that
calendar and the generally used Gregorian calendar.
Since 1970, the rule for the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church is: "The Epiphany of
the Lord is celebrated on 6 January, unless, where it is not observed as a holy day of
obligation, it has been assigned to the Sunday occurring between 2 and 8 January."
In the Church of England, the eve of the feast used to be celebrated as Twelfth Night.
The Monday after Epiphany is known as Plough Monday.
Alternative names for the feast include (τα) Θεοφάνια, Theophany as neuter plural
rather than feminine singular, η Ημέρα των Φώτων
,"The Day of the Lights", and τα Φώτα, ta Fota, "The Lights".
Vasilopita!
Epiphany
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