Monday, December 19, 2011

The Countdown!

With a little more than a week before Christmas, The Owlery is shaping up. I am getting a bit excited for my annual gathering, and sharing some of the holiday with friends. I am starting to gather up my baking for packaging. This morning I read a bit about the Twelfth Night Cake, which has its origins back to the Middle Ages, but really took hold by the 18th Century, with all the Christmas festivities and merriment. The cake was a sweet cake/bread, decorated beautifully, and within was hidden a bean or pea! Whoever got that piece with the bean was crowned the King or Queen of the party! I may very well institute this for my gathering as well.
I had mentioned that I am an Orthodox Christian, and follow our religious traditions as best I can. Similar to the Twelfth Night Cake, we have a sweet bread that we bring out to share with friends on January 1st, as we celebrate the New Year combined with St. Basil's Day. During his life in early Christian times, he brought gold coins to distribute to the poor. We bring out our Vasilopita (or St. Basil's Bread) at midnight, and cut it for those present as well as a piece for the house (which includes everyone, present or not).
In my home, I have a gold coin that goes into the cake, and whoever gets the coin keeps it for the coming year as a good luck charm. I recently recieved my coin back from its temporary caretaker for the year 2011, and it will now be baked into the 2012 installment! (That's the job my Mom has done for me for many a year now...part of the tradition). My coin has had many ventures out from The Owlery, and has graced mantles, and icon shelves and little particular places of honor in my friend's and family's homes. The Vasilopita is our type of Twelfth Night Cake! It just shows how traditions are passed down and around and made our own!

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