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Athens News Agency: News in English, 11-01-01

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] New Year's Day celebrations in Greece
  • [02] New Metro station opens
  • [03] Contraband cigarettes

  • [01] New Year's Day celebrations in Greece

    (ANA-MPA) -- New Year‚s Day is not just the beginning of the New Year but is often viewed as a "new beginning", a day when many people around the world make pledges and resolutions to leave behind past troubles and obstacles and seek a new life.

    People believe that a year's conclusion often takes with it whatever bad occurred in that year, thus heralding the New Year with joyous celebration. Humanity's hopeful expectations of the New Year are best reflected in a verse of a popular New Year‚s Eve song in Greece: "Old Year leave now, your time is up. The New Year is here with presents, songs and joy".

    In the eastern Mediterranean nation of 11 million, New Year‚s Day many celebrations are influenced by local folkloric traditions, the Orthodox Church and the occasion of the feast day of Aghios (St.) Vassilios, who in Greece substitutes for St. Nicholas as the embodiment of Santa Claus. (ANA-MPA)

    One of the most quintessential of all New Year's customs in the Hellenic world has its roots in Greco-Roman traditions. A traditional cake (vassilopita) made on New Year‚s Eve is cut in the presence of the entire family on New Year's Day. The ancient Greek Kronia or the Latin Saturnalia were celebrated with the preparation of sweets and cakes. A silver or gold coin was baked inside the cake and whoever found the coin in their piece was the lucky one for the coming year. (ANA-MPA)

    The Eastern Orthodox Church linked the vassilopita tradition with the story of St. Vassilios, who in order to protect his parish of Caesarea in Cappadocia, in modern-day central Asia Minor, from the attacks of hostile tribes, gathered all gold coins and other valuables the people had in their possession to appease the would-be attackers. When an attack failed to materialise, Vassilios proposed returning the valuables in a manner that would disperse the riches as evenly as possible -- baked within cakes. (ANA-MPA)

    Caption: Hundreds of revelers rang in the New Year at Syntagma Square in downtown Athens. (ANA-MPA/P. Saitas)

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

    [02] New Metro station opens

    The new Athens Metro station at Aghia Paraskevi metro station has now opened to the public. The station, the 30th underground metro station in the greater Athens, has three underground levels, two entrances and exits and can facilitate 20,000 passengers daily.

    The distance to the downtown Athens Syntagma square station will be covered in 13 minutes.

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

    [03] Contraband cigarettes

    Port authorities in Crete confiscated 3,000 cartons of contraband cigarettes that were found in a Bolivia-flagged freighter outside the port of Kissamos.

    The vessel, identified as the "Romeo", had left the port of Famagusta, in the Turkish occupied part of Cyprus, heading for a port in Albania, while the nine seamen on board told authorities they were unaware of the cargo's content.

    The confiscation of the contraband cargo was confirmed late on Friday afternoon by the Hania harbour master, who said that the vessel was in the gulf of Kissamos due to the weather conditions and was considered suspicious since it had attracted the attention of the authorities in the past as well.

    The nine-member crew was arrested, and the ship was also seized.

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

    Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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