Easter Basket, Swienconka
As a Catholic and with a Polish origin, Holy Saturday is a day when we go to church for the traditional blessing of Easter food. We bring baskets containing samples of the Easter food, Swienconka, decorated in various ways. The blessing of the Easter food is an old and lovely tradition that I’m raised with. I don’t think that the tradition is common for all Catholics, only for Eastern European Catholics. People put great effort in decorating the baskets and it’s nice to look at the beautiful baskets at church.
The content of the Easter basket varies from family to family, and here are the most important contents and their meanings:
Pisanki: Coloured boiled eggs symbolize life and rebirth, and especially Christ’s Resurrection from the Tomb.
A peeled boiled egg: The same meaning as above, the egg is shared with the family on Easter Dinner.
Kielbasa: A spicy sausage of pork products, indicates God’s favor and generosity. In the old days, all types of pork were forbidden until the coming of Christ when it became acceptable.
Baranek Wielkanocny: A sugar lamb, representing Christ Resurrected. It’s a typical Polish Easter symbol.
Pepper and Horseradish: Symbolize the bitter herbs of the Passover and the Exodus.
Bread: Symbolizes Christ, “the Bread of Life”.
Salt: “You are the salt of the earth.”
Vinegar: Symbolizes the gall given to Christ at the crucifixion.
Wine: Symbolizes the blood of sacrifice spilt by Christ at the crucifixion.
In my family we don’t bless neither vinegar nor wine, and as I didn’t have any Polish sausage nor Horeseradish at home, I had to go to church without them. Tomorrow on Easter Day we will have an Easter Dinner and before the dinner begins, the whole family will share the peeled boiled egg and exchange best wishes to each other.
I wish you all a Happy Easter!