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easter basket 400 316Swieconka (Blessed Basket)

Blessing of food derives from old traditions and religious character of Polish people. We do believe the food we enjoy is a great gift from God and it needs to be blessed as our appreciation for all His grace. Preparation of Easter food and items placed in the Blessed Basket is done at home with all family involved, traditionally mother takes care of the baked goods, father helps with meat preparation and children make Pisanki eggs. Most of the food is prepared on Holy Saturday morning and then a sample of each food item is placed in the wicker basket lined with white linen or lace. The basket is then decorated with spring greens and flowers and the food is covered with a special Easter Basket Doily that displays Easter symbols.

Blessing of food takes place in church on Holy Saturday, the baskets are set up around the altar, the food is uncovered and priest blesses it with Holy Water while making prayers. Three groups of food are being mentioned – eggs and dairy, breads and pastries, meat and roasts. Items in the basket have symbolic meaning: eggs - symbolize life and Christ's "Resurrection", bread - symbolic of "Jesus", lamb - represents Christ, salt - represents purification, horseradish - symbolic of the bitter sacrifice of Christ, ham - symbolic of great joy and abundance. 

  

List of items to place in Swieconka Basket:

- Pisanki eggs

- Butter Lamb

- Ham

- Kielbasa or Sausage

- Bread

- Pastries or cakes

- Horseradish

- Salt

- Easter Palm

 

 

  

swieconka

Shop Items for Swieconka Basket Here

 

 

 

 wooden pisanki

 

Pisanki Eggs

The name Pisanki comes from the Polish word "pisac", which means to write. In fact, the eggs are decorated with beautifully elaborated floral designs or geometric patterns. There are several techniques of making pisanki – from simply dipping eggs in egg dyes and drawing on the colored surfaces, to decorating them with liquid wax flowing from a pipe or funnel and producing the design on the surface of the egg. The eggs can also be colored by cooking them with onion shells. The practice of coloring Easter eggs is very much alive in Poland today as well as enjoyed by Polish people all over the world. In Poland one can find eggs made of natural wood that are hand pained and decorated the same way as real eggs. They are also called Pisanki. 

Shop Wooden Eggs Here

 

 

 

Wydmuszki

The yolk and whites of a raw egg is blown out from the egg shell by blowing air through a small hole made at the narrow end of egg – the contents is pushed out through another small hole made at the opposite end of egg. Empty shell is then decorated the same way as Pisanki Eggs. Wydmuszki are extremely fragile and hard to decorate, yet still many Poles pride themselves in knowing the art of making and decorating them.

 

 

wydmuszki

 

 butter lamb

 

Butter Lamb

One of the elements of Blessed Basket. Butter is a symbol of the richness coming from the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. It is hand formed into the shape of a lamb, decorated and placed in the basket for blessing. Then on Easter morning it is shared by family at the table.

Shop Butter Lamb Here

An Easter Palm

An Easter Palm is a traditional Polish symbolic decoration associated with Palm Sunday. Traditionally, Easter palms were prepared on Ash Wednesday, from willow branches (with catkins). As palm trees are not indigenous to Poland, willow branches served as symbolic substitutes for palm branches. Nowadays, certain parts of Poland make Easter Palms in a different manner and using a variety of materials. The most favorite are palms made by hand braiding straw, dried flowers and colorful ribbons. Easter Palm is one of the important decorative element of Easter Blessed Basket.

Shop Easter Palms Here

 

 

palmy zbiorcze

     

 

easter baskets 

 

Holy Saturday Fasting

In many Polish homes there is a tradition of fasting on Holy Saturday. People fast from food and drink all day until sun sets. The purpose is to show God our gratefulness for the death of His Son on the Cross for our sins. It is also a way to turn our thoughts to what truly important in Easter preparations. Some families do not take full fasting, instead they eat only one light, meatless meal that day. 

     

Dyngus or Smigus Dyngus

The origins of this custom are unknown however it remains popular in all parts of Poland, and carried on form generation to generation with great joy. On Easter Monday morning boys and men have to get the girls and women wet while they do everything to avoid it. All kinds of trick are engaged, from hiding and sprinkling water from around the corner or through the open window – to literally grabbing a girl and carrying her to the river or lake bank and dipping her in freezing at this time of year water. It breaks the solemnity of Easter with the burst of youthful joy and frivolity.