The Golden Vasilopita Coin of St. Basil for Orthodox New Year’s Celebrations
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This age old tradition commenced in the fourth century, when Saint Basil the Great, who was a bishop, wanted to distribute money to the poor in his Diocese. He wanted to preserve their dignity, so as not to look like charity, he commissioned some women to bake sweetened bread, in which he arranged to place gold coins. Thus the families in cutting the bread to nourish themselves, were pleasantly surprised to find the coins.
When the observance begins, usually on New Years Day, the bread is traditionally cut by the senior member of the family, and the individual who receives the portion of the Pita which contains the coin is considered Blessed for the New Year.