Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Easter Table Setting

In Poland we decorate baskets at Easter and take them to church for blessing on Easter Saturday morning before breakfast. The church looks very colourful with dozens of baskets filling the steps up to the altar. The priest blesses them, we take the baskets home and eat a morning feast. The breakfast is always started by the family sharing a cut up hard boiled egg and wishing each other a Happy Easter, following that we sit and eat. The table always has the Easter basket in the middle which is decorated with ribbons and greenery (often bilberry leaves) and contains usually the following: plain hard boiled eggs, salt, bread, meat, yeast cake, horseradish, pepper, painted eggs (pisanki), a lamb figurine usually made of sugar, ham, cheese, a candle. Not everyone has all of these items in their baskets. The staples are the eggs, meat, bread, salt and a lamb figurine. Traditionally we put into the baskets what we will be eating on Easter Saturday. We will eat the food that has been blessed and I have found that the contents of baskets will vary according to regional traditions.

So below is my own basket for this year. I bought the basket at Vinnies for $2! To fill it I'm using: a square of hessian, some leafy twigs from the downstairs garden, A hard boiled egg, my own hand painted goose Easter Eggs, salt, bread, cheese on a muslin cloth, baby capsicum (this is a replacement for meat since I'm a vegetarian), a sugar lamb and some ribbon.

I weave the twigs and the ribbon around the edges...

And here it is. A beautiful Easter basket ready to decorate the table.

I have also learned that this tradition actually stems from a pagan ritual, not surprising, which celebrated the spring equinox and the sprouting of the summer crop. Many different descriptions exist about the type of ritual celebrated and one describes the offering of lamb and bread during a full moon to ensure a good crop yield.

If you decide to set your Easter table with and Easter basket as the centre piece, what you put in it is ultimately up to you. I know that some of the items in the basket symbolise different things such as; salt for longevity, bread for fertility etc. I will ask my children what is important to them and what they would like to put in their baskets themselves. I have a feeling we may end up with some Star Wars figures and nail polish in the basket!
I hope you enjoy your Easter this year. May it be a safe and happy one or all.

1 comment:

shtrumfadri said...

nice very nice... I put your idea on my blog (hope you do not mind) : http://shtrumfadriti.blogspot.com/
have a nice day....