Εργαστήριο Γνώσης και Αβεβαιότητας

Knowledge and Uncertainty Research Laboratory

Tradition meets technology: a platform to cut the Vasilopita in the pandemic and beyond

[journal]


Full reference

Manolis Wallace, Vassilis Poulopoulos and Evi Togia, Tradition meets technology: a platform to cut the Vasilopita in the pandemic and beyond, Research in Social Sciences, in press


Abstract

The ritual of cutting the Vasilopita at the beginning of the year is deeply embedded in the Greek culture. It involves large gatherings taking place indoors; during the pandemic these gatherings had the potential to function as superspreading events and needed to be limited if not outright avoided. In the paper we present the Vasilopita system, a platform that aims to provide a safe alternative so that Vasilopita events can be organized online. The platform has been designed with respect to the ritual and has maintained as many of the traits of the conventional ritual as could be transferred in an online environment. The wide acceptance of the proposed approach – with more than 300.000 participants in online Vasilopita events so far – shows that technology needs not be seen as the opposite to tradition and life as we used to know it; it can instead be seen as an evolution and, when used properly, it can help salvage traditions that are in danger of fading. In the paper we also discuss how in addition to assisting in limiting the spread of COVID-19, the platform has provided new opportunities such as connecting families that are spending holidays apart, making tradition relevant to younger generations and promoting Greek culture abroad.