Making Time for Swieconka - The Polish Easter Basket
As has been the case with many real estate agents in the area and across the country, buyers are coming out in force and business has been brisk, to put it mildly. Working seven days a week and running a household means some things have to wait.
I have had to make the decision to put off some things until I have some more discretionary time. However, there is one activity I cannot .... and will not .... miss this year. That is the traditional Polish Easter basket blessing, or Swieconka.
On the Saturday before Easter, we bring the filled basket to church to be blessed and then enjoy the contents at breakfast on Easter Sunday.
My mother and father kept this Polish tradition alive until my father passed away when I was 19. Then as our lives changed, so did the tradition. The basket got packed away and the tradition fell by the wayside.
About 10 years ago, I resurrected the Polish Easter basket tradition. I purchased a big, sturdy (a necessity) basket and shopped for all the foods I remembered.
In the last few days, I have been running around, and have also enlisted my husband and son, to shop for all the items that will fill the basket. Breaking from our Good Friday tradition of egg coloring due to our schedules, we actually colored our eggs last night. That's a first. But, hey, you do what you have to do to get things done!
I am right now waiting for the kielbasa to cool after baking it and will be assembling the basket tonight. Tomorrow we will bring the basket to the church with my family to be blessed at a ceremony called Swieconka (sh-vee-en-soon-kah). At church the smell of the kielbasa is enough to drive you crazy. Those who participate don’t have to be Polish. It’s a tradition for everyone and anyone who wants to partake.
So what’s in that basket anyway?
This, in part, is what we put into our basket and what the items represent.
|Butter||Often shaped into a lamb or cross. Represents the good will of Christ .|
|Babka (bread)||Symbolic of Jesus, the Bread of Life|
|Horseradish||Represents the Passion of Christ|
|Hard boiled colored eggs||Represents new life and Christ's Resurrection|
|Kielbasa (fresh not smoked)||Represents God's favor and generosity|
|Ham||Representative of joy and abundance|
|Salt||Symbolizes prosperity and justice|
|Cheese||Represents moderation we should practice|
|Candle||Represents Christ as the Light of the World|
|Basket Ribbons||Represents joy and new life|
|Linen Cover||Covers the top and is set aside for the blessing by the priest|
I also add a few more things to our basket like strawberries, yogurt, orange juice, tea, and some really good quality chocolates for good measure. Everything we eat and drink at the Easter Sunday morning breakfast is blessed.
We also eat on china, use crystal glasses, fine table linens and silverware. It is a very special breakfast and a tradition I hold very dear to my heart.
Now, if I only had my parents to share it with, that would be perfect. I'm sure they're with us, enjoying that delicious kielbasa and red hot horseradish, on some level.
Happy Easter to all as you celebrate your own Easter traditions.
Making Time for Swieconka - The Polish Easter Basket Blessing