Tuesday , May 18 2021

Zakynthian New Year’s traditions

It’s New Year’s Eve and every Zakynthian home is preparing for the welcoming of the New Year.

Early in morning the children will go from home to home to sing the New Year’s carol and send a wish that Ai Vassilis will come and bring your most desired. For it is tonight that Santa Claus as we know him will visit every home throughout Greece.

Tradition for New Year is based on re-birth and the superstitions that go with the traditions vary from place to place around Greece.


Zakynthos’ tradition is to collect pinecones on New Year’s eve and bring them into the home, others bring in pomegranates to split open on the change of the hour from the old to the new.

As the New Year enters you will often see adults handing over coins to young children as a sign of prosperity.

The adults will try their luck in a game of cards, the most common game being 21 or blackjack. Whoever wins the most will be lucky throughout the year, at least economically so they say.


As far as cutting the Vassilopita, again I must stress that this is not the Zakynthian tradition. The Island officially had the ceremony on Christmas Eve cutting the Zakynthian kouloura (Christmas bun). However, as I have mention traditions change over the years. The Vassilopita has made its way into many Zakynthian homes. The lucky coin in the piece that someone has is said to bring them luck throughout the year.


New Year’s day,  an aroma of traditional cooking within Zakynthian homes. The favourite dish is Rooster. Cooked in a tomato based sauce finished with Zakynthian local cheese. It is served with thick spaghetti the one that is shaped like a tube.
Even superstitions prevail on this day. The so called ‘pothariko tis protoxronias’. Many believe that those who are first to enter your home will bring the outcome of whether your home will have luck or bad luck. They say that a child so innocent and pure is the best luck of all that your home can bring. So be careful who enters your home on New Year’s day. It’s he/she who will decide on your fate for the year.

About Louise Inzk

Louise is Australian born and has been a Greek citizen since 1991. She has deep cultural ties with the island, often writing about Zakynthian Traditions and Culture. She is also an active member of the Volunteer Group of Zakynthos, Giostra Di Zante and is a member of the women's choir "Rodambelos". Her love of the island and all it offers saw her joining the Zakynthos (Zante) Informer admin team in 2014.

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