The Exchange : ANA staff brings in new year with Greek tradition

ANA staff brings in new year with Greek tradition

The 2013 year is officially under way. For the ANA and Money Museum staff, Jan. 2 marked the first workday of the new year. The staff started the year unlike any year before, by participating in the Greek tradition of cutting a Vasilopita.

 

A Vasilopita is considered a New Year's cake or rich bread. According to Greek tradition, when one cuts a Vasilopita it blesses and brings good luck to the house or building for the New Year. Additionally, a coin is baked into the cake and the person who finds the coin in their piece of cake is considered blessed for the new year. Carey Hardy, ANA membership director, discovered the coin in his piece of cake. Hence, Hardy is the blessed staff member for the 2013 year. 

 

Coin In Cake 

(Money Museum Vasilopita Cake Coin - a 2012 Silver Eagle Bullion Coin)

 

The historical story behind the Vasilopita celebration has slight variations depending on who is telling the story. However, all versions involve St. Basil of Caesarea and the most popular version, according to the Holy Ascension Church of Norman, Okla., tells of a heavy tax burden being placed on the people of Caesarea. St. Basil saw the hardship it placed on the people and courageously called the emperor to eradicate his tax, which the emperor obliged. The coins and jewelry that had already been collected by the emperor were given to St. Basil to distribute back to the people. St. Basil had no way of knowing which items belonged to which person. To resolve the issue, he had items baked into breads and cakes. The people of Caesarea were given a piece of the baked goods and were fortunate to receive their exact share they had given in taxes. 

 

This ancient tradition is not only celebrated by those from the Greek culture, but also many other countries throughout Europe celebrate a very similar tradition. This celebration tradition is quickly becoming popular in workplaces, clubs, companies, and various other societies. 

 

The staff may not have cut into a traditional Vasilopita. Rather, the museum staff substituted chocolate and tres leches cakes. Nevertheless, the staff hopes that 2013 will be an exceptional year for the organization and all ANA members.

 

Written by Brandon Ortega at 00:00

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