Blessing of the Easter Baskets
It has been traditional at every parish I belonged to, since my birth, to take a basket of goods for the Easter breakfast to be blessed on Holy Saturday morning. Here is a little bit about the contents of the basket. Perhaps it will spark an interest to begin (or continue) this tradition in your family.
Blessing of the Easter Food Baskets on Holy Saturday is a tradition among Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian Central and Eastern Europeans, including Czechs, Croatians, Hungarians, Lithuanians, Poles, Russians, Rusyns, Slovaks, Slovenes, and Ukrainians.
As to what goes into a food basket depends on the region one is from and the family's preferences. Lavish displays are less common and just a sample of many foods with symbolic meaning now line the basket.
Bottles of superior vintage wine go into the basket, and others add green spring vegetables to theirs. While tastes vary by region and family, the basket usually contains smoked meats, sausage, butter, cheese, bread, salt, cake, and pysanky (decorated) eggs. A candle is placed in the basket so it can be lit during the blessing. Some families tie a bow or ribbon around the handle of the basket. (See the accompanying insert in this week’s Bulletin.)
Finally, a richly embroidered cloth basket cover rests atop the food. Since Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians fast during Lent, not one morsel of this blessed food is eaten until after Mass on Easter Sunday and, thus, becomes the traditional Easter breakfast. As custom dictates, each member of the household must eat a sample of everything in the basket lest misfortune befalls them.
As we enter this final week of our journey to Easter, I pray that each of us will renew our Lenten reserve and prepare to participate in all the activities of the Triduum – Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday or Easter Sunday.