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Growing up, I heard my family say this all the time when there was a new month. I finally started paying attention to the tradition and ritual of saying it.

Kalo Mina actually means "Good Month" but my family took it a step further. We developed the habit of doing something special as a family to celebrate.It depends which day it falls. Some things we've done:

- Brunch - We do this if it falls on a weekend.
- Dinner - Going out to dinner is great any time of the year!
- Journaling - We've done family journaling parties, sitting together reflecting on the month. Sometimes we read aloud what we write (depends how the month went LOL)
- Goals - No matter if we do anything, like go out to dinner or brunch, we always sit and review our goals for the month together.
 

How olive oil is made in Greece

I love the taste of Greek olive oil. I am also fascinated by how it's made. I watched some demos in Greece, both using ancient practices and modern ones. Here's some information. I also shared a video.

The process begins with the harvest period, which runs from mid-October to mid-December. During this period, the olives are hand-picked from the trees and sorted to ensure that only the best olives are used in the production of the oil.

The olives are then taken to the olive press to be turned into oil. In Greece, the traditional method of extracting oil is by using a Three-wheel stone mill. This method is slow and laborious, but it imparts a unique flavor and quality to the oil. The olives are crushed into a pulp between the rotating granite wheels, and the oil is separated from the pulp using a centrifuge. The centrifuged oil is then stored in dark bottles to preserve its flavor and aroma.

Here's the video I talked about:

Information on the Greek Tradition of Vasilopita

I love the tradition of Vasilopita. My family does something on New Year's Eve, and my church does something for a fundraiser about a week or two after New Year's. So, 'tis the season!

I never really sat down and considered why we do it. So, I decided to do some research. Here is what I learned - please feel free to chime in with anything to add!

Origins of Vasilopita

According to legend, Vasilopita dates back to the 4th century, when Saint Basil the Great was the Archbishop of Caesarea in what is now Turkey. It’s said that the archbishop wanted to distribute money to the poor in his region, but he didn’t want to favor one person over the other. So, he asked the women of the city to bake bread, each containing a coin, which would be cut and given to the people in need. Over time, the bread transformed into a cake, and the coin turned into a lucky charm in the shape of a Saint Basil medallion.

Vasilopita Ceremony

The Vasilopita ceremony is usually held on New Year’s Day, during lunch or dinner. Before cutting the cake, the head of the household blesses it with a cross, saying, “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Then, they cut the cake into pieces, dedicating the first slice to Jesus Christ, the second to Saint Basil, and the third to the household. The rest of the cake is then served to the guests, with the finder of the charm receiving a special blessing.

Cultural Significance

In Greece, Vasilopita is more than just a cake, it’s a symbol of community, love, and hope. It’s an opportunity to gather with friends and family, reflect on the past year, and set intentions for the future. It’s also a way to honor Saint Basil, who is celebrated on January 1st, and to remember the less fortunate by sharing the cake with those in need. In addition, Vasilopita is a traditional Christmas gift, exchanged among coworkers or friends, often accompanied by a small card with wishes for the upcoming year.

My family usually buy the vasilopita. I have never made it... it's just as good no matter who does it! I know some ladies at church get together and make it for our reception...



greek-vasilopita.jpg

Greek Dance Instruction Video - Will Be Attending a Wedding

I will be attending a Greek wedding. They're friends of the family. Although I am Greek, many of our friends aren't. Since about 50% of the music at the reception will be Greek, I thought it would be fun to brush up on our Greek dancing together.

The problem is, I forget some of the dances, so I will also need to brush up. I can't teach people until I am a bit stronger.

I found this video. It's pretty good. Does anyone know of any more videos that can show me some Greek dancing?

Gift Ideas for Greek Christenings

I've had to go to a log of Greek Christenings lately, which means that I know exactly what to do when it comes to gift. I have noticed some gifts traditionally appear. Aside from money, which is also appropriate, here are some ideas:

1. Icons
In Greek religion and culture, icons are considered not just as works of art but as holy objects that help people feel closer to God. Gifting an icon is an incredibly powerful way of expressing love and well wishes to the baby. An icon symbolizes a bond that will stay with the child for a lifetime, and it can hang in their room for years to come. It is an unusual and thoughtful gift that will make a lasting impact.

2. Silver Baby Spoon and Fork Set
A silver baby spoon and fork set is an elegant and memorable gift idea. In Greek culture, silverware is traditional, signifying the precious nature of the sacrament. It is both practical and meaningful and can be passed down through the generations.

3. Christening Outfit
If you're looking for a less traditional gift idea, consider gifting a beautiful christening outfit. This is typically taken care of by either the parents or godparents, so I would check before you buy something.

4. Book of Blessings
A book of blessings containing prayer and passages of faith is an exceptional gift. It is a sentimental and thoughtful gift that will go a long way in nurturing the baby's faith and spiritual growth. Moreover, it is something that the child can revisit years later, reminding them of the love and support they received from their family and friends at the Christening.

List of Cretan Dances?

I will be attending a Cretan wedding and am curious about the traditional Cretan dances! I know the dances are slightly different and I want to learn some. I don't know the names of the dances so that I can look them up. I did some research, though. Are any of these dances common at these weddings?
  • Pentozali
  • Sousta
  • Siganos
  • Chaniotis
There's a dance the wedding party typically does in Crete. Which dance is that?
Share and discuss Greek traditions related to Greek weddings, christenings, dance & holidays!

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