Today, I began preparing food to place in our Easter Basket and take to the priest to be blessed on Holy Saturday. I will pretty much spend the week preparing food for our feast on Sunday. The Traditional Polish Easter Basket contains the following items:
Maslo (Butter) – This dairy product is often shaped into a lamb (Baranek Wielkanocny) or a cross. This reminds us of the good will of Christ that we should have towards all things.
Babka (Easter Bread) – A round or long loaf topped with a cross or a fish, symbolic of Jesus, who is the Bread of Life.
Chrzan (Horseradish) – Symbolic of the Passion of Christ still in our minds.
Jajka (Eggs) and Pisanki (decorated with symbols of Easter, of life, of prosperity) – Indicates new life and Christ’s Resurrection from the tomb.
Kielbasa (Sausage) – A sausage product, symbolic of God’s favor and generosity.
Szynka (Ham) – Symbolic of great joy and abundance. Some prefer lamb or veal. The lamb also reminds Christians that the Risen Christ is the “Lamb of God.”
Slonina (Smoked Bacon) – A symbol of the overabundance of God’s mercy and generosity.
Sol (Salt) – A necessary element in our physical life. Symbolic of prosperity and justice and to remind us that people are the flavor of the earth.
Ser (Cheese) – Symbolic of the moderation Christians should have at all times.
Candle – Represents Christ as the Light of the World.
Colorful Ribbons and Sprigs of Greenery – are attached to the basket as signs of joy and new life in the season of spring and in celebration of the Resurrection.
Linen Cover – drawn over the top of the basket which is ready for the priest’s visit to the home or the trip to church where it is joined with the baskets of others to await the blessing. The food is then set aside and enjoyed on Easter Sunday.
I have already purchased a special bottle of Liebfraumilch wine to add to our basket. It has a lovely picture on the label of the Blessed Virgin Mary holding Baby Jesus, which of course, is appropriate, since “Liebfraumilch” is German for “Beloved Lady’s Milk”.
We will probably decorate eggs on Friday, before we attend the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion at 3:00 p.m. Since Friday is a day of fasting, eggs are the easiest thing to prepare without feeling really, really hungry!!