When we were walking around Krakow on the Saturday before Easter, my husband noticed that nearly everyone was walking around with a basket in hand, and wondered where they all were going. Easter baskets have a bit of a different meaning in Poland, in that you use them to take some symbolic tokens to be blessed before the actual holiday, and then hang on to the goodies to serve on Easter Sunday, when the holiday officially begins. I’ve outlined what the items typically are below, but during the blessing in the square by the Cardinal, one very proud child called out into the microphone that he had put R2D2 in his basket. But at that age, that’s what is important, so into the basket it goes. Here are the usual suspects:
Ribbons or greenery to symbolize spring time and starting anew.
A candle for the light of the world.
Dyed or decorated eggs to symbolize new life and prosperity (and some say fertility).
Butter to symbolize good will.
Kielbasa to symbolize generosity and abundance.
Salt to symbolize the flavor in life.
Cheese to symbolize moderation.
A lamb shaped cake as a symbol of the Christian resurrection.
Growing up, I took for granted that not everyone did this until the day we showed up at our church in Fargo, baskets in hand in front of the confused priest, who after looking around, hurredly sprinkled some holy water around. But looking back, it just seems like such a nice rite of passage into spring and the Easter season that I’m hoping it survives in my adulthood.
Photography by The New Diplomat’s Wife.