In Poland there is quite unique custom. Although it is not well-known in many countries, it has a very long tradition. Blessing of food is rooted in the 7th century. In 12th century it contained bread and eggs blessing. The oldest information confirming this tradition in Poland can be found in 13th and 14th century.
Święconka, meaning „the blessing of the Easter baskets” is made usually in Poland. Outside this country, you can find this tradition also in some regions of Austria, Slovenia, southern Germany or Croatia.
Amongst Eastern Orthodox Christians, święconka means sweet bread. This Easter custom is popular in Belarus, Ukraine, Hungary, Czech republic, Greece, Turkey and Armenia.
How does it look like?
In Poland on Holy Saturday morning people bring to the church Święconka – the basket full of food thay will be eaten on solemn Easter breakfast with the family. Because of such long tradition, even non-believers come that day to the church for the food blessing.
What do we put into the basket?
First, the basket should be made from wicker and should have a white tablecloth, which is a symbol of purity and innocence.
There are several food products that you can always find in Easter basket:
- eggs – symbol of new life, triumph of Life over Death
- bread – symbolises Christ, Bread of Life for the believers. It is said to bring you well-being and prosperity
- meats (ham, sausage, etc.) – symbol of health, affluence and fertility
- horse-raddish – symbolises bitterness of Christ passion. It is also strength ad health, as well.
- salt – symbol of purity, simplicity, truth. It should protect from Evil and depravity
- cake – symbol of ability and perfection
- lamb (from sugar or butter) – symbolises obedience of Christ and victory over Evil
- box – symbol of world and nature
- cheese – symbol of friendship between humans and animals
Sometimes you can find also:
For many people the most important component of Święconka are eggs. As with palms on Palm Sunday, there are different techniques of egg colouring, depending on the region of Poland. The general name for painted egga in Polish is pisanka (but it is a name of one specific egg type as well).
1. Drapanka (scratched egg)
Eggs are dyed in different colours and then scratched with some sharp tool. It’s common in Poland and Austria.
2. Kraszanka (natural dyed egg)
Eggs are boiled in stock of some vegetables or plants.
For example you can get brown colour from onion shells, black from oak bark or alder cones, yellow from marigold flowers, blue from red cabbage, green from parsley leaves, pink from beetroot, red from dried berries, orange from carrots or pumpkin and so on…
3. Pisanka (painted egg)
Eggs are painted with wax and put into colour dyes. It can be repeated few times and put into different dyes to get few layers of colour patterns. You can use pins, needles, wooden sticks or some special tools.
4. Oklejanka, also naklejanka (egg decorated with some textiles, string, knitting wool, but also flower petals or reed)
5. Nalepianka (egg decorate with colour paper cut-outs)
They are popular especially in South-East of Poland, for example in Cracow region or in central Poland (for instance Łowicz).
6. Rysowanka (egg with some drawings)
Eggs can be coloured with paints, markers, colouring pens, etc.
7. Ażurki (open-work eggs)
This kind is made from egg shells only. The holes in the shell are made with mini-drills, grinding machines or milling machines.
8. There is also one more type, which doesn’t have a name yet. People just start to discover this technique. You stick some leaves or different shapes to the egg and tie it thightly in a stocking. Then egg is put into the dye.
My own Easter Eggs
Often children learn some techniques of egg decorating at school before Easter. Well, I don’t know how is it now, but they used to when I was going to primary school.
Even if it is not very easy, I together with my sister tried to do some pisanki and rysowanki this year to put them into the Easter basket. Do you want to see the results? 😉
Here they are!