A snake on your pie

Greek Christmas breads and New Year pies have often  impressive decorations such as serpentine figures made of dough. The serpent is  a survival of the doctrine for the oikouros ofis*, the ancient home-protecting serpent, which believed to be an incarnation of Erechtheus
Of course, not only Erechtheus was depicted as a snake but also Ζeus Ktesios (the Acquirer), the protector of the storehouse, was represented as such. The Minoan snake-goddess was a house goddess too.  

The cult of the house snake still survives in parts of  Greece. Among farmers, we find the snake as a spirit of the earth, a spirit who possesses life-giving powers and ensues health and good fortune.  

New Year Pie. Bread Museum, Amfikleia

So, don’t forget to decorate your New Year pie with a dough- snake. 
May it bring you health, happiness and prosperity. 

Oikouros: the word is a compound of oikos= “house” and ouros = “a watcher”.
Ofis: snake

You might also be interested in: Vasilopita, the New Year Pie
                                                   Happy New Year Bread


Vasilopita (St. Vasilio’s pie) is a powerful new year’s symbol of fertility and good luck for the rest of the year.
If nowadays in many occasions, we have transformed it into a big, sweet cake there are still Greek women who make the vasilopita using recipes, sweet or salty, passed down from mother to daughter. Watch this video to see how to make and decorate a traditional bread- pie from Varnavas / Attica (European bread museum of Varnavas).

Vasilopita or Vasila from Varnavas
2 kilos of flour
4 envelopes dry yeast
In a large bowl shift flour and make a well in the centre. Pour in the yeast dissolved in plenty of warm water and mix well. Knead for 15 minutes, adding flour if it is sticky or warm water if it is too hard. Place the dough on one or two olive-oiled baking dishes. Put the lucky coin into the “heart” of the dough. Cover it and let it rise for 2 hours.
In the meantime  make dough with flour, water and salt. With a knife make shapes intending to bring fertility, luck for the rest of the year and to prevent the evil eye from entering house: a cross, a house, trees, animals and the hand of Virgin Mary.
Bake in preheated oven (200° C) until golden brown and cooked through.
Turn the loaf onto a wire rack and allow to cool.
Best wishes for a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year!!!