Every Christmas for the past 19 years or so, my family has participated in the Greek tradition of baking Kouloura; a sweet, ceremonial bread. My dad, having begun his career as a baker in 1944, has always been the one to both bake and cut the bread. Inside the Kouloura is a hidden coin, and the individual who finds the coin in their slice is said to have good luck in the upcoming New Year.
With the pandemic and my dad’s health, he’s been unable to be with us in person the past two Christmases, so the tradition of the Kouloura was passed down to me. Baking is something my dad has perfected in his 77 years of practice, and I’d be lying if I said it was my expertise. My first attempt at making it was in 2020, and as I’m sure you’ve guessed, I was no replacement for my dad. Last year, I bought the bread from a local bakery instead, and while it certainly tasted better than what I was able to create the year prior, it was missing one major ingredient – tradition.
Traditions have always been a part of my life, albeit family, football, or Medix. To me, participating and carrying out traditions brings a sense of comfort. It brings unity and reinforces values all the while building memories, and generationally speaking, promises the legacies of those who started the traditions will live on. Baking the Kouloura is a tradition my family looks forward to every year, and it’s one I vow to embrace and carry on each and every Christmas that I’m able to.
If you don’t have any traditions yet, it’s never too late to get one! Find something that encourages or brings you joy, and build a tradition around it. Google others’ traditions and adopt one you find and love, or if you’re looking to get started right away, use my family’s Kouloura recipe and bake some bread this weekend. Whatever you choose, just know you’ll have many years of joy and excitement to look forward to with whichever tradition you find.