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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Happy Easter!

Have a Happy and Blessed Easter!

In our Swieconka basket:

Butter/Maslo: often shaped into a lamb, known as Baranek Wielkanocny, to remind us to share the goodness of Christ to all things. Seen in our basket in a small bowl marked with a cross in clovers.

Bread/Chleb: a loaf of rye bread, symbolizing Christ as the staff of life.

Eggs/Jajka: representing new life and Christ's resurrection.

Sausage/Kielbasa: a symbol of God's generosity.

Ham/Szynka: representing joy and abundance (also marked with a cross of cloves in our basket).

Salt/Sol: essential to life, and a reminder of Jesus saying "You are the salt of the earth."

Cheese/Ser: a symbol of moderation (we've got 2 - because we really like cheese)

Chocolate: my one concession to commercialized Easter. Because I like chocolate. ;-)

The basket is then covered with a fine cloth and taken for blessing. This year, I chose a linen cloth hand embroidered in cotton with sunny yellow blossoms.

Missing this year: horseradish/Chrzan, symbolic of the passion of Christ. I usually include a section of the root, rather than the sweetened preparation, which would later be served grated fresh onto the eggs. Our local grocery store didn't have any, and I never got a chance to go someplace else to look. Growing up, my mother would dig some out of our own patch. The pieces with some greenery starting to show at the top were not peeled completely, and my mother would share them with friends to plant in their own gardens.

Also traditional:

smoked bacon/slonina, symbolizing God's over abundance and mercy.

holy water, used to bless the home, animals, fields and used in religious rituals all year.

a candle to represent Christ's light to the world.

The basket is often decorated with colorful ribbon and/or sprigs of greenery. Others would include fruit or a bottle of wine. One of my favorite things about getting the baskets blessed is seeing all those other baskets, and the interesting things people put in them.

The basket contents are then included in meals throughout Easter Sunday. Because the food is blessed, remnants such as eggshells are supposed to be burned, not thrown out.

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