In the Christian Orthodox calendar Christmas season finds its own peak point in New Year’s Eve, covering countries and majorities or significant populations of Russia, Greece, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Cyprus, Poland, Albania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, among others as well as their diasporas. The religious affiliation maybe strong or weak but affects the social and cultural life of these populations in a broad web of affinity-mutuality connections. It is an overarching institution that promotes connectedness and combines secular with spiritual pairing based on philanthropia; i.e. on the loving of the other under the bond of agape. Furthermore, in cases like Greece and Cyprus and their diasporas, customs (i.e. applying culture) may evolve beyond religiosity, as communal identifiers.
The focal signifier of intra-family and inter-family networks in all those communities is the preparation and sharing of the traditional St. Basil’s cake called “vasilopita”. Social Network Analysis supports the argument for behaviors and behavioral outcomes "your friends who live hundreds of miles away have just as big an impact on you as your friends who live next door". Field data from followers -as friends- of the vasilopita-related customs as well as network representations support the premise that keeping customs in religiously homogenous communities around the world is a demanding task.
In the current paper, the bottom-up approach of the physical vasilopita cake customs is scaling-up via the on-line network of e-vasilopita that stimulates the following and practice of the original application of these customs. It is a case of an on-line network of customs that enhances, enriches and extends the primitive bonds of the original physical network of the vasilopita culture (with the prize of the "coin" inside the piece of the cake). Following the customs of vasilopita baking and sharing connects the nodes (or network members) that are tied by one or more types of relations i.e. spirituality, religious affiliation and goodwill for the coming "new year". The modus operandi of e-vasilopita is founded around the virtues of peace, agape, equality, hospitality, respect, justice, and unity as components of social capital values; values that make people assemble around the pie expressing preference, desire, motivation and homophily. E-vasilopita was established as a computer supported network of customs, a social network that enriches and disseminates the “St. Basil tie”, collects data on influence, promptness, and social cohesion.
E-vasilopita increases the “productivity of culture” in a Habermasian lifeworld of interconnected members; although low betweeness may be manifested nodes are holding tight in regular seasonal occurrences to practice their customs on-line; participation increases, exercise of customs flows, and network actors feel more inclusive in a secular way, when they are co-present in e-vasilopita beyond religious connotations. The innovative “e-vasilopita” network of sharing customs, enhanced by donated relevant "commodities" (relevant traditional products).
The act of sharing participation in the e-vasilopita virtual cake redefines the sense of belonging and creates homopolar ties of culture for the diffusion of customs in innovative ways, especially in times of crises.