January 1st is an important date in Greece because it is not only the first day of the New Year but it is also St. Basil’s Day. St Basil was one the forefathers of the Greek Orthodox Church.
He is remembered for his kindness and generosity to the poor. He is thought to have died on this date so this is how they honor him.
A special New Year’s bread is baked with a coin buried in the dough. The first slice is for the Christ child; the second for the father of the household and the third slice is for the house. If the third slice holds the coin, spring will come early that year.
In Hungary they burn effigies or a scapegoat known as “Jack Straw” which represented the evils and misfortunes of the past year to burn on New Year’s Eve. Jack Straw is carried…
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