The blessing of Easter baskets, called “Swieconka “is one of the most enduring and beloved Polish traditions.
The basket is traditionally lined with a lace napkin and decorated with sprigs of boxwood, ribbons and spring flowers. It is covered with linen symbolising the covering of Christ’s shroud.
All the food in the basket is symbolic. Depending on the region in Poland you can find different products but the most important are:
– bread- the symbol of Jesus, the Bread of Life,
– eggs ( hardboiled and decorated ) -indicate new life and Christ’s Resurrection from the Tomb,
-salt -so necessary an element in our physical life, that Jesus used its symbolism: “You are the salt of the earth” also as a symbol of purification,
– Lamb – usually made of bread – representing Christ as the “Lamb of God“
-ham-symbolic of great joy and abundance,
-sausage-symbolic of God’s favor and generosity,
– vinegar and horseradish-symbolic of the Passion of Christ,
-cheese- it is the symbol of the moderation Christians should have at all time.
On Holy Saturday the Polish community bring basket with the food to the church for blessing and after Easter Sunday’s Resurrection Mass they gather at the table and share the blessed food and exchange good wishes.
Explanation provided by Barbara Slusarczyk