Saturday, 7 April 2012

Blessing of the Easter baskets

Those of you who know some members of the Protestant churches know that the most important day around Easter is for them the Good Friday. Those who have ever met a Roman catholic surely know that for them the most important part of Easter is the mass held on Sunday morning. At least for most of them.

For many Poles, the most important part of Easter is the Holy Saturday morning when they go to the church for the blessing of the Easter baskets. An Easter basket looks like this:

And no, it is not meant to carry horses inside!

You should put inside samples of food that the family will eat during the breakfast on Sunday morning. First of all eggs, typically colored, painted or otherwise decorated. They are the symbol of the resurrection of the Christ.

I bet you want to have a closer look, so here is an example ...

... and another one.

Then comes the meat (typically a sausage) as a memory of the lamb that Jews (including Christ and the Apostles) were eating during their Passover feast.

The bread is the symbol of Eucharist.

The salt represents the preservation of the soul of the Christians.

The horseradish commemorates the bitter sacrifice of Christ. I have no clue why they mix horses in this, it tastes horrible to be honest.

Finally come the Easter cakes, in particular the Easter Babka, made with the use of yeast.

When you have everything ready, you must pack all of this into the small basket. Not so easy I must tell you.

The final touch is a nice napkin to cover the basket on the way to the church.

In all Polish churches on the Holy Saturday there are huge tables, full of baskets.

Every 15 minutes the priest comes to bless them.

And then new baskets come. Again and again. As I said, this is the pivotal part of Easter in Poland. At least that's what it may seem.

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