As with all Greek traditions, the custom varies from region to region, but one thing is for certain, “podariko” is practiced almost everywhere on New Year’s and it symbolizes “entering wit the good foot,” or in most cases, the right foot.
It’s a symbolic way to usher in the New Year for the family occupying the house, with good luck.
In some parts of Greece, the youngest child is the first to enter after the turning of the New Year— always with the right foot.
In many regions, the child carries the family icon, or the icon the family has designated as their patron saint.
On several Greek islands, a sort of podariko jig is done. The person entering enters first with his right foot one step in saying “Μέσα καλό!” (enter good!) and then takes two steps back saying “Κι όξω κακό!” or evil out!
This is done three times to ensure that evil and bad luck exists the house upon the orders of the household master.
Upon entering the third time, he smashes a pomegranate and all members of the household dip their fingers into a honey jar and lick the honey so that life in the house will be sweet throughout the year.
Regardless of the method or who is doing the first entering of the house, it’s an ancient tradition of entering the house with the right foot first and wishing the household good luck for the new year.
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