The custom of New Year’s pie («Vasilopita» in Greek, which means the pie of Basil) started with Saint Basil the Great from which it got its name.
According to the tradition, during the time when Basil was Bishop (Saint Basil the Great-also known nowadays as “Santa Claus) of Caesarea, the Governor of Cappadocia went to the city to collect taxes. The residents, terrified, asked for help of their Bishop. He suggested that they bring their most precious possessions, and when they had gathered many gifts, jewels, and gold coins, they went out with the Saint Basil the Great to meet the Governor. Saint Basil’s manner and persuasion so calmed the Governor, that he ultimately did not want to take the gifts and the taxes.
But when residents tried to share the gifts everyone had brought back, the separation proved particularly difficult, as many had offered similar jewelry and coins. Then Basil the Great ordered the people to make pies and to put an object in each of them. The next day he distributed them and, miraculously, each one found in his pie what he had offered.