Podarikó: The Greek New Year’s custom is still alive Everything you want to ask, read or write about Sfakia, southwest Crete, or Crete island in general.

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Erno
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Podarikó: The Greek New Year’s custom is still alive

by Erno » 30 Dec 2018, 10:32

Podarikó: The Greek New Year’s custom is still alive - 30 December, 2018

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One of the oldest customs Greeks follow with the advent of the New Year is called “podariko” [ποδαρικό], from the root pod-, or foot, roughly meaning “good foot.” Loosely translated, this means that the person who first sets foot in your home in the new year must be someone who brings good luck.

Even today, many people in Greece are especially careful as to who will be the first to enter their home in the New Year. On New Year’s Eve they will usually invite someone they believe will bring good luck to be the first to walk into their home as soon as the New Year arrives.

Once the “lucky” person walks into the house, the owners need to step on something that is made of iron, so that the family will be as strong as iron, or healthy, throughout the new year. The housewife kisses the person who makes the podariko and usually gives him or her apples or walnuts and some sweet quince or any other delicacy made for the holidays.

On the Greek island of Amorgos, a family member always walks into the house first when they return from the church. Holding a small holy icon, the chosen person walks two steps into the house, saying “Good, come inside.” Then he or she will turn around and declare “Evil, get out”. This is repeated three times.

Finally, the person will say “Good, come inside” for the last time, and they throw a pomegranate down on the threshold while wishing everyone a “Happy New Year”.

The podariko custom is attributed to Bishop Gregory of Nyssa (c. 335 – c. 395) who allegedly said that on New Year’s Day people should meet with or bring to their home a person who they believe would bring them good luck.

Similarities can be found in other cultures as well, as podariko roughly equals to what the Northern British and the Scottish call “First Foot”.

From: https://greece.greekreporter.com/2018/1 ... ill-alive/

In Crete, on New Year's Eve each family member comes out of the house, gets a stone and puts it in the house and after sitting down on it makes a cross and says:

"Cluck cluck to our chickens, good year to our home, lambs and goats, males and females".

"Κλου κλου στα ορνίθια μας, καλοχρονιά στο σπίτι μας, αρνιά και ρίφια θηλυκά και κοπέλια αρσενικά".

Then the parents take the children with the good hand (the right one) by doing the same and every visitor and say, "Good morning to you at first, good Saint Archiminia [archiminia = first day of the new month]. How much weight does this stone have, so much gold enters your home".
All the best,

Erno
webmaster Sfakia-Crete.com

Jean
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Re: Podarikó: The Greek New Year’s custom is still alive

by Jean » 31 Dec 2018, 04:13

Very interesting! Has anyone experienced New Year's Eve customs in Sfakia? I was told they smash pomegranates by the front door but have never been there on the day.

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Erno
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Re: Podarikó: The Greek New Year’s custom is still alive

by Erno » 31 Dec 2018, 12:10

Why do Greeks break a pomegranate on New Year’s Day? - 31 December, 2018

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Breaking the pomegranate on New Year’s Day is an Ancient Greek holiday tradition, with its origins in the Peloponnese or Serres, and later spreading over the entire nation.

In Greek folklore, the pomegranate has served as a symbol of strength since ancient times. It is considered the fruit of life and good fortune. Ancient Greeks believed that the pomegranate’s ruby-like arils, or segments, symbolized abundance, perhaps because of their quantity.

They also represent fertility, eternity, and good fortune.

In modern times, Greek Orthodox tradition dictates that on New Year’s Day, the family members wear their Sunday best, go to church to attend the Divine Liturgy of Basil of Caesarea, and welcome the New Year.

The man of the house takes a pomegranate with him to church for the fruit to be blessed and when the family returns home, he knocks on the door so that he is the first person to enter the house in the new year.

He then smashes the pomegranate either in front of the door or against the door, and he makes a wish that the juicy, bounteous ruby-like segments of the fruit flood the home with good health and happiness — and as many joys as the pomegranate has arils.

From: https://greece.greekreporter.com/2018/1 ... years-day/

Emma and I have enjoyed New Year's Eve once in Chora Sfakion, in the years 2002 - 2003. At 5 PM we were picked up from the plateia and transported up Tholos, the area of the village where most villagers have their home. We were welcomed at the family house with sweets and wine, and then enjoyed a copious dinner, together with the whole family. After dinner the raki came out, and shortly before midnight our host entered the living room, and in front of the cozy fire place showed us a huge rifle. He announced our next step: exactly at midnight we would welcome the New Year from the porch, where each of us should fire the rifle once - "aim a little over Gavdos"- saying good wishes for the new year. And so we did, firing red tracer bullets into the sky. It was a very exciting start!

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Happy New Year everybody!
All the best,

Erno
webmaster Sfakia-Crete.com

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