Saint Basil’s (Vassilio’s) Day and Greek Feastings

Saint Basil

Saint Basil

Vassilio’s or Vasillis originated from Basil, in medieval context it is Basileios which directly came from ‘Kingdom’. In the tradition, gifts were brought to children on the first of January. This day is St Basil’s Day when traditionally, serving of vasilopita is a practice. Vasilopita is a kind of rich bread that is baked with a coin in it. Part of the custom is to sing New Year’s carols and an extra place at the table is set for the Saint Basil where he is like the eastern Santa Claus who is associated with Nicholas in the western parts.

Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church

On the 6th of January, the Orthodox Greek also celebrates the Feast of Epiphany: The Baptism of Jesus Christ. This will be followed by the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple on the 2nd of February. In March on the 25th, the next is the Feast of the Annunciation of Our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever Virgin Mary. Theotokos is the Greek title of the mother of Jesus also in the Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Catholic Churches. Its literal translation is ‘God-bearer’

Sunday Before Pascha

The Palm Sunday is the Feast of the Entrance of Our Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. The Ascension of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is 40 days after Pascha. 50 days after Pascha, it is the Feast of Holy Pentecost. The Cenancle on Mount Zion had claimed to be the location of the Pentecost and the Last Supper. The word Pentecost is a Greek word and it signifies ‘fifty’ and its literal meaning is ‘fifty-count’. In Greece, the day it was counted was from the morrow after the Sabbath which is Saturday in today’s context.

Two Feastings in August, and Two Feastings in September

© †Maghimaya Ka Maria†

Dormition of the Holy Theotokos

On the 6th of August, it is the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ. Then on the 15th, the Feast of The Dormition of Our Most Holy Lady, The Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary. In the month of September, again there are two other feasts. One is happening on the 8th where the Feast of the Nativity of Our Most Holy Lady, The Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary is held. The other is happening on the 14th where the Feast of the Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross is held. In October there is none. However, the last two feasts in the end of the year are on the 21st of November for the Feast of the Entrance into the Temple of Our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos and the 25th of December for the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

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