The Greek custom of Vasilopita for the New Year
The Greek New Year’s Eve lucky cake is called Vasilopita. The cake contains a hidden gold or silver coin which is slipped into the dough before baking. Vasilopita is usually cut at midnight on New Year’s Eve. The person who is fortunate enough to receive the slice containing the coin is believed to attract good luck throughout the year. Family and friends join in the cutting of the Vasilopita in early January every year.
How is the Greek custom of Vasilopita linked to Kronos, the primordial deity of time and karma?
The most enthralling element of the Greek custom of Vasilopita for the New Year is that this amaranthine recipe has endured for centuries in Greece. This cake has historic links to the mythical Golden Age, a period of peace and prosperity when people enjoyed a life of elysian ease. During the Golden Age, according to Greek mythology and Greek legends, Astraea, the celestial virgin goddess of justice, lived among the Golden Race of humanity ruled by the Titan Kronos, a primordial deity of karma and time. In reminiscence of the Golden Age, the Greeks celebrated the Kronia, a festival held in honour of Kronos to celebrate the harvest. Kronia was an outdoor festival, so people dressed informally.
Kronia was a pastoral and agricultural festival with rustic style and a celebration of the crops and harvest with an ecocentric approach to religious blessing. During this festival there was no animal sacrifice and people ate fruits, bread and pastries. People engaged in games of chance and tested their luck. But it was during the millennium of Byzantine Greece that this sweet pastry received its contemporary name as it was named after Saint Basil the Great, the bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia.
Throughout history, Vasilopita’s recipe has evolved; a heightened awareness of environmental abuse has led to a rise in vegan and plant-based eating. This vegan Vasilopita pastry recipe is the veganised version of the Byzantine Greek recipe.
Vegan Vasilopita has a compound of intriguing flavours, beginning with the mellow and earthy flavour of grape molasses then bringing in the piney taste of juniper berries with their delicate citrus overtones.
A Retro Decoration Idea to Try
For a retro decoration, glaze the cake with 1/2 cup of grape molasses and garnish with nuts, such as ground walnuts, ground almonds or almond flakes, chopped pistachios. I like to follow vintage cake decorating trends, as my photos will testify!
In the media
Vegan Vasilopita recipe was first published on January 6, 2019 in Mookychick Magazine.