Święconka - Gastro Obscura


This Polish Easter tradition artfully assembles symbolic foods, from bread to lamb-shaped butter.

As Easter rolls around in Poland, Catholics assemble artful collections of symbolic foods for a sacred ritual: the blessing of Easter baskets, or Święconka.

The baskets are made to be brought to church on Holy Saturday and contain specific ingredients. The basket itself is made out of wood or twigs, lined with linen or lace, and decorated with sprigs of boxwood. The basket can contain many different foods, but it most typically includes the following: eggs, symbolizing life and Christ’s resurrection; bread, which is symbolic of the body of Christ; a Paschal lamb figure, which can be fashioned from anything from butter to chocolate to marzipan (or sometimes even nonedible material, so check before biting); salt, which represents purification; ham or sausage, symbolizing abundance; and horseradish, whose bitterness is associated with the pain of Christ’s sacrifice. Poles often take pride in these baskets, decorating them in beautiful ways.

After the priest blesses the baskets at Mass on Holy Saturday, they are brought home, where they sit untouched until Easter the next morning. Then, many of its contents will be used for breakfast.

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