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.