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"Your Holiday Directory"
  The blessing of the Easter baskets!
Beloved Polish Tradition
"Święconka (pronounced [ɕvʲɛnˈtsɔnka]), meaning "the blessing of the Easter baskets," is one of the most enduring and beloved Polish traditions on Holy Saturday. While originally observed by Polish Americans in the U.S., it has become increasingly mainstream in U.S and is starting to grow in the U.K. as the Polish go there to live. Catholic churches, being observed by a wide cross-section of parishes."

"For example, the Chicago Tribune reported Francis Cardinal George of the Archdiocese of Chicago performing the blessing in a church on Chicago's Northwest Side on Holy Saturday of 2007. In 2008, a similar service took place in the Chicago archdiocese at St. Alphonsus Liguori Roman Catholic Church in Mt. Prospect, Illinois."

"Baskets containing a sampling of Easter foods are brought to church to be blessed on Holy Saturday. The basket is traditionally lined with a white linen or lace napkin and decorated with sprigs of boxwood (bukszpan), the typical Easter evergreen. Poles take special pride in preparing a decorative and tasteful basket with crisp linens, occasionally embroidered for the occasion, and boxwood and ribbon woven through the handle. Observing the creativity of other parishioners is one of the special joys of the event."

"While in some older or rural communities, the priest visits the home to bless the foods, the vast majority of Poles and Polish Americans visit the church on Holy Saturday, praying at the Tomb of the Lord (the fourteenth and final Station of the Cross). The Blessing of the Food is, however, a festive occasion. The three-part blessing prayers specifically address the various contents of the baskets, with special prayers for the meats, eggs, cakes and breads. The priest then sprinkles the individual baskets with holy water."

"More traditional Polish churches uses a straw brush for aspersing the water; others use the more modern metal holy water sprinkling wand. In some parishes, the baskets are lined up on long tables; in others, parishioners process to the front of the alter carrying their baskets, as if in a Communion line. Older generations of Polish Americans, descended from early 19th century immigrants, tend to bless whole meal quantities, often brought to church halls or cafeterias in large hampers and picnic baskets."

Easter Basket Recipe

3 cups of flour
2 packs of dry yeast
1 cup of milk
4 TBS of butter
1 tsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
2 egg yokes
Combine flour with yeast. Heat milk, add butter, let it melt. Add milk, salt and sugar to flour mixture. Mix well with electric mixer. Form a ball and leave it to rise. On a flat surface, roll ¾ of dough with rolling pin until you get a 10” square. Cut into 24 strips. Lay 12 strips next to each other, and use the other 12 to weave between them. Cover ovenproof bowl with butter. Place it upside down on a cookie sheet. Place the strips on top of the bowl, cut the ends. Cover the strips with egg yolk. Bake for 45 minutes in 350 oven. After 20 minutes, cover the strips with aluminum foil so they would not burn. Remove from the oven and let it cool. Roll the remaining dough into a rectangle; cut it into 3 strips (to create a rim for a basket). Braid the strips and place them on a cookie sheet. Cover with egg yolk and bake for 20 minutes. Gently remove basket from a bowl and pin the rim into it with toothpicks

The Blessed Foods and their symbolic meaning:

“paska”, cakes, eggs, horseradish, sausages, ham, salt, pepper, and tiny sugar lambs.

Traditions vary from family to family and have changed with each passing generation. Some allow children to place chocolate into the basket. The priest may also bless these items found in the Easter basket:

See also outside links:

See Also
Easter / Easter Eggs / Decorated Eggs / Easter Traditions / Polish Traditions / Ash Wednesday / Palm Sunday  / Good Friday / Clean Monday-Pure Monday / Holy Week / Major Holidays  / Movable Holidays Spring / Carnival  / Lent / National Egg Month  / Movable Feasts /

Shop: Kids & Family Easter Store!
Have you ever wished for a classic Easter special to show your kids? Here Comes Peter Cottontail is a Rankin & Bass production that bears a marked similarity to the beloved Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses some material from Wikipedia/article Święconka/and other related pages. Top Photo : basket
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Święconka Basket
Photo: Traditional Polish custom of blessing food on Holy Saturday. This święconka basket was made in Ćwikły-Rupie (Podlasie voivodship) for Easter 2006 and contains: kielbasa, boiled eggs (coloured with onion), salt, pepper and bread. Decorated with bilberry leaves. Blessed food is eaten on Easter breakfast.
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A look into Related Holidays
Ash Wednesday / Palm Sunday  / Good Friday
Clean Monday-Pure Monday  / Holy Week
Carnival  / Lent / Religious Holidays   /

Easter Related Pages