Held on January 1st, St. Basil’s Day commemorates the day in which (it is believed) Basil of Caesarea died. St. Basil, also called Saint Basil the Great, is one of the most distinguished Doctors of the Church and a forefather of the Greek Orthodox Church.
St. Basil’s Day or The Festival of Saint Basil is the Greek New Year.
Greek children leave their shoes by the fireplace in hopes that Saint Basil will fill them with gifts.
Traditionally vaselopita, a special bread or cake, is bake on St. Basil’s Day Eve. Served at midnight with a coin or trinket is hidden inside, the cake is distributed in a particular order. The first piece in remembrance of St. Basil and the second for the household. The following slices are distributed from the eldest member of the household to the youngest. The person who gets the piece with the hidden coin will have luck for the coming year.
St. Basil was born in the year 329 or 330 and died in the year 379. He is the Patron of Hospital Administrators, Russia, Cappadocia, Hospital administrators, Reformers, Monks, Education, Exorcism, and Liturgists.