blog header


Kali Chronia – Happy New Year

1st of January (Protochronia) is not just New Year’s Day. Οn this day the Orthodox Church commemorates Saint Basil the Great, Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia. Saint Basil or Agios Vasilis is our Santa Claus. Therefore, New Year’s Day is the day we exchange presents.  On New Year’s Eve, the nicely wrapped gifts are placed under the Christmas tree. When children wake up on New Year’s morning, they rush to the Christmas tree eager to see if Santa has visited their house. Seeing the joy on children’s faces is the best way to start the year.


The new year celebrations begin on the previous day. On New Year’s Eve children pour into the neighbourhood and move from door to door singing “Archiminia ki archichronia…”, that is “New month and new year…”. This is the Greek New Year’s Carol that announces the arrival of Saint Basil and spreads wishes for the new year. On the same day, the main entrance of the house is decorated with olive leaves. Evergreen tree branches are believed to have a vital force that can be passed onto humans.

In the afternoon of New Year’s Eve, the family sets Agios Vasilis’ table. On the table they put “Vasilopita” (Saint Vasilis’ bread/pie or cake), “Kolliva” (boiled wheat), a lit candle, a glass of wine, a comb for Santa’s beard, as well as dad’s wallet. These will make Saint Vasilis feel at home when he visits. He will be able to sit for a bit, eat, drink and cast his saintly blessing over the entire house. With the saint’s blessing, bread, wheat and wine will never run out in the house, and dad’s wallet will never be empty. On New Year’s Day the wheat is scattered in the fields to bless the new harvest.

When the clock strikes midnight, people open the back door to let the old year out, and the front door to let the new year in. Also, families gather outside the front door and drop a pomegranate on the floor. The more seeds are scattered on the floor, the luckier the New Year will be. Another popular custom is “First footing”. Tradition has it that the first person who sets foot in your house after midnight will dictate your fortune for the year.

On New Year’s morning, believers go to church to attend Great Basil’s Liturgy. After church the family gathers around Vasilopitta, which is cut in a ceremonious way, as described in Vasilopitta. On Protochronia day, adults and godparents offer children a small amount of money as a gift, called “pouloustrina” or “ploumistrina”. Giving money is a good omen, as coins are a symbol of life and immortality.


Kali Chronia – Happy New Year

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit sed.

Follow us on