In many Eastern European countries, it’s a tradition to have a basket of food blessed on Holy Saturday. This Catholic ritual has been cherished for centuries among many families. It has now been adopted by people of all ethnic backgrounds who enjoy this richly symbolic custom. The blessing of the food is a festive occasion. People take special pride in preparing a decorative and tasteful basket with crisp linens, possibly embroidered for the occasion, both lining the basket and covering the food which symbolizes the covering of Christ’s burial shroud. These covers are usually passed down from generation to generation. The basket could also be decorated with colorful ribbons and greenery, pussy-willows or dried flowers to symbolize spring, renewal and the Resurrection. Traditional contents of an average Easter Basket include:
- Easter Bread
- Ham, Lamb or Veal
- Smoked Bacon
- Holy Water
This was never a tradition that my family followed (unless mom went to church without us). The first time I had heard of this tradition, I had been ordained a priest already in 2001 priest. Therefore, it took quite some time to get accustomed to the format or even its significance. That first time I presided for this ritual blessing went well in general except for sprinkling the baskets. Apparently, I must have missed some of them. It’s all food that would be eaten on Easter Sunday. It began to make a little more sense to me after I was invited to bless someone’s home and Easter decor. It is indeed a high celebration day. I hope everyone takes the time in these coming days to truly give thanks for the food you partake in on Easter, for the Lord Jesus will have risen!