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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Greece Series at GreekPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Greek holidays and observances. I’m Michael, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 1- “New Year’s Day”. In Greek, it's called [Πρωτοχρονιά]
New Year's Day is the first day of the year, and in Greece, it is celebrated on January 1st, also known as St. Basil’s Day. It is a great opportunity for both young and old to exchange gifts, but also to celebrate together the changing of the year, usually with lots of merrymaking, music, and plenty of food and drink.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?
What is a pomegranate used for on New Year's Day in Greece?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
The celebration for New Year's Day starts on December 31st, with families intensively preparing for the New Year's Eve dinner party, or [ρεβεγιόν Πρωτοχρονιάς] in Greek. On the morning of New Year’s Eve, many children go from door to door singing New Year's carols in exchange for some pocket money. The New Year's carols are called [κάλαντα Πρωτοχρονιάς].
Apart from cooking and preparing the table, women pay special attention to their appearance. As it is the party of the year and, naturally, they want to look their best! The menu mainly consists of meat, but also includes lots of traditional sweets like sugar coated biscuits, or [κουραμπιέδες], honey biscuits or [μελομακάρονα] and, of course, the famous New Year's cake, called [βασιλόπιτα].
As the end of the night and the beginning of a new year approaches, people celebrating at home switch on their television to watch the countdown. At midnight, everyone hugs and kisses each other while giving wishes. In Greek, they say [Καλή Χρονιά!], which is like “Happy New Year” in English.
At night, many people open a bottle of champagne as well for good luck. Then, the householder cuts the New Year's cake or [βασιλόπιτα] after making the sign of the Cross on it three times using a knife. The first piece is cut for Christ, the second for the Virgin Mary, the third for St. Basil, and then subsequent pieces for the rest of the family members. After this, one can expect a lively party and possibly gambling with cards.
The New Year's cake is not just any cake! A lucky coin or [φλουρί] is hidden inside of it. As soon as each person receives his or her piece, the search begins! Whoever finds the lucky coin is said to have luck for the rest of the year!
On the morning of New Year's Day, "Santa Claus," or in Greek [Άγιος Βασίλης] brings gifts to children while the grown-ups rest after the revelry of the previous night. The first tradition is called [ποδαρικό], which means "first-foot". It's about the first entry or visit into the house. Families make sure that first-foot is carried out by a lucky and good-hearted relative, or by their youngest child, because children are pure and guileless. Upon entering the house, the person should step inside using their right foot, so that everything to come will be "right," or, in other words, will come with luck.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
What is a pomegranate used for on New Year's Day in Greece?
The pomegranate, or in Greek [ρόδι], is a symbol of abundance, fertility, and good luck. In many parts of Greece, after the year changes, Greeks forcefully throw a pomegranate outside the threshold of their front door, smashing it into many pieces. It is believed that this brings good fortune and an abundance of goods to the household.
How did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
What are the customs of New Year's Day in your country?
Leave us your comments on GreekPod101.com, and we'll see you in the next lesson.

7 Comments

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GreekPod101.com
Monday at 6:30 pm
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What are the customs of New Year’s Day in your country?

Saturday at 3:22 am
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hi Maura,

Thank you for commenting.

This series only introduces 10 vocabulary words and I’m afraid “pomegranate” didn’t make the cut, but check out this word list where we have added “pomegranate” there:
https://www.greekpod101.com/greek-vocabulary-lists/happy-new-year-words-phrases-for-the-new-year

Happy holidays!

Stefania
Team GreekPod101.com

Maura
Friday at 6:43 am
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

The word for pomegranate is missing from the vocab list, would be nice to have it added it there!

Sunday at 10:41 pm
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Hello Stephan,

Thank you very much for your kind feedback! 😄
Please let us know if you have any questions.

Kind regards,

Albert
Team GreekPod101.com

stephan
Friday at 8:55 pm
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A fantastic resource, Thank You!

Thursday at 8:18 am
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Hello Lorraine,

Thank you for contacting us. The audio parts in Greek are pronounced at a normal native speed. If the audio speed of the main lesson is too fast for you, please select a slower speed from the gray “1x” button on the playback bar. Alternatively you can practice with the slow version of the Greek vocab in the “Lesson Materials” section (circle No2).

Kind regards,

Stefania
Team GreekPod101.com

Wednesday at 12:57 pm
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Greek pronunciation a little too fast.