Yesterday was a key day in the Easter calendar for Polish people as ‘Wielka Sobota’ (Great Saturday) is the day that Polish families gather together to head to church to bless their Easter food, a lovely tradition.
The baskets are always blessed on Saturday and then you share the blessed food with your family and loved ones on the Sunday during the Easter ‘breakfast’…. which in our case is often around lunchtime.
You normally prepare the baskets by baking some ‘Babka’ (granny) yeast cake (my one below is actually poppyseed sponge in babka cases). You also put in some ‘poledwica’ (ham), kabanos or other sausages. Next is the bread (mine is from Lublin and tastes amazing). You can also put in some salt, which you can then use for months afterwards. And last but not least is the eggs, or in the case of Polish eggs – ‘Pisanki’. Pisanki (as you would’ve read from my previous posts), are painted, dyed or generally decorated eggs. With egg meaning the start of a new life, these are always present within the basket. You normally hard boil them, then you can paint them with watercolour paints (a lovely tradion I remember from my childhood) or you can boil them in a sauncepan filled with red onion peelings (I went for that option). The latter means you end up with lovely reddish/golden eggs and if you’re feeling artistic you can take a sewing pin and carve out pretty designs in the red egg shells.
You can also put anything else in the basket that you want blessed – i’ve seen people put chocolate eggs in there, butter and lots of other foodstuffs.
You then cover the wicker basket with a pretty lace napkin (yep, of course everyone has one of those on hand in Poland!) and you’re ready to head off to church to get all your food blessed with holy water.
See our photos below of yesterday’s Easter baskets being blessed, there were many much more artistic than ours…. we might have to up our game and get creative next year! 🙂