Thursday, April 2, 2015

Polish Easter Tradition

wooden pisanki
Pisanki Eggs

Mr. Sewtopia is of Polish heritage. For all these years I have carried those traditions into our home to provide my Father-in-law and the extended family with this link to their historical past. My FIL would recount stories of his Mother and her Easter preparations. His face would light up when his favorite foods and faith traditions were reenacted. It is different since he is gone but I try to keep it all going for the small group of us who celebrate Easter together. 

The Pisanki Eggs are very popular in our Ethnic neighborhoods in Western Pa. An exacting skill is required to create these stunning works. This tradition extends not just through the Polish community but the Slovak, Hungarian, Russian, Ukranian, and the other smaller middle European ethic communities as well.  A friend of mine took classes recently in the technique. She decided not to share her project. More practice will be required she says. 

After Lenten restrictions our Easter Food becomes the center of attention. Traditional repasts include the items listed below in the Traditional Easter Baskets.  

A Special Basket is set aside and used for Easter Food exclusively. It is traditionally lined with white linen and the food is covered with a linen cloth embroidered with Religious symbols. A sample of each of the traditional foods is placed in the basket and presented for blessing by the Priest on the Saturday before Easter Sunday.easter baskets
A collection of baskets on the church alter waiting for the Saturday before Easter Sunday blessing.

I had great plans to embroider a new basket cloth. As fate would have it I am having trouble transferring my designs from the CD to the flashdrive. I have not given up, I have another plan but I am not sure when It will be completed. The dear Son of a friend is going to help me next week address these complicated issues. Wouldn't you know? As Holy Week is upon us I want to wish everyone a Happy Easter. I will be busy for the next few days and I am sure others will be as well. Enjoy this time with family and friends. May your Easter be blessed and happy and bring you the Peace and Joy that we all seek.
Traditional Polish Easter BasketMaslo (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.

- 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.


ELMO said...

What a lovely tradition, I think I've seen those butter molds and always wondered what they were used for.

celkalee said...

I try to remember to get them as soon as I see them because they fly off the shelves! Who knew.

 I wish I had a picture of my pickles, I do not and I haven't made them yet for the season but they are really good. I shared the recip...