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.
(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.