St. Francisville, Louisiana

That, my dears, is a vasilopita, or, St. Basil’s Cake. Today, on the Old Calendar, is the Feast of St. Basil. Inside the cake is baked a coin, in honor of a tradition that says St. Basil wanted to distribute money to the poor, but to allow them to retain their dignity. So he baked gold coins into cakes he distributed to them. Today, people put a single coin into the batter. The the tradition is that the first slice is for Jesus Christ, the second for his Holy Mother, and the third for St. Basil. And then on you go, through each member of the family. Whoever gets the piece with the coin in it is said to be blessed throughout the year.

St. Basil got the coin in our house tonight, but Nora (see right) got that piece. She holds the coin in her hand. This was the first year we had such a cake. It was completely delicious.