Kalo Podariko – New Year’s Tradition of Smashing Pomegranates
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In Greek culture, the pomegranate holds much significance. It is a sign of luck, prosperity and fertility. It is also a sign of renewal and regeneration. Since the rituals that surround New Year’s usually involve ways to bring luck, it makes sense that the pomegranates are part of this. Here’s more information about this unique New Year’s tradition.
The Pomegranate on the Front Door
On New Year’s Eve, it is common for Greek families and close friends to gather together to spend time with each other. Each household hangs a pomegranate over the front door during this time of the year. Often, the pomegranate will be placed above or to the side of the front door at Christmas, and it will hang there until it is used on New Year’s Eve. Some families may also get their pomegranate blessed at their local Greek Orthodox Church before hanging it.
Reentering the Home at Midnight
As the time nears midnight, the family members in the household will turn off all the lights and make their way outside of their home. One person will be chosen as especially lucky, and they will be the first to reenter the household. This person will enter first with their right foot. Traditionally, children are chosen for the owner of stepping into the home at midnight. This person. referred to as the First Footer, is tasked with the special moment of being the first one to step into the home. It has to be done right, or else the ritual will not bring the family luck for the New Year!
The Smashing of the Pomegranate
After the First Footer enters, someone else is chosen who has a fresh and clean spirit. This is the person who takes the fruit in their right hand and smashes it against the door. Naturally, many of the pomegranate seeds will be revealed and fall out of the pomegranate. The more seeds that are scattered at the foot of the front door of the home, the more luck that that household will have for the year. If very few seeds are scattered, the luck won’t be as much as it would be if a lot of seeds came out. First footers often practice their technique before New Year’s in order to make sure they bring the family as much luck as possible.
The Mossy Stones
Before the New Year, it is also the tradition to put mossy stones near the front door. Before the other household members reenter the house after the first two, they step on these mossy stones that have been collected from nearby streams and ponds, and this is also considered to be a positive omen for the New Year. It is the tradition for the First Footer to stop on the mossy stones after smashing the pomegranates.
Pomegranates are looked at as a fruit that has the potential to bring luck. If the First Footer does his or her job correctly, the household will experience plenty of good luck throughout the year!
Categorized in: Greek New Year Traditions
This post was written by Greek Boston