Celebrating Easter after a long, gray Polish winter is a wonderful way to harken spring.
Last year, we watched one of the most celebrated Polish Easter traditions in Warsaw’s Old Town. On the Saturday before Easter Sunday, Poles flock to their local churches, carrying decorative baskets filled with special items to be blessed. The Swieconka tradition means the baskets are lined with a white linen or lace towel and contain eggs, kiebasa, salt, candles, cheese or butter shaped like lambs and more. Each item represents something in the Christian faith. To see a diagram of Easter basket items and the symbolism, click here.
the church, the priest then sprinkles the individual baskets with Holy Water
and gives his blessing in front a crowd. It was cute to watch the young
children who are dressed up in their white Easter Sunday dresses or button-down
shirts and pants. If you visit Poland during the Easter season, I definitely
recommend finding a church to observe this tradition.
Palm Sunday, which takes place the weekend before Easter, you’ll find local
vendors and even older Polish ladies selling decorative “palms.” Since Poland
doesn’t have palm trees, the locals make these palms from dried wheat and
flowers, fresh greenery and pussy willow (bazia)
Luckily, I have witnessed three Easter seasons here in Warsaw. I absolutely love the colorful pisanki (painted eggs) that are sold at small shops and special Easter markets. Now, I have a collection of both wooden and real eggs that will always remind me of our expat years living in Poland. Many of the egg vendors sell these special eggs at my favorite market, Hala Mirowska
|This year, I made this Easter basket filled with chocolates, salt, cheese, kielbasa, horseradish and other sweets for a Polish friend.|
|Bread shaped like lambs for Easter.|
|Some of the specialty shops sell the traditional Polish Easter baskets.|
|Or homemade Polish cheese in the shape of lambs and chickens.|
Then, since many Poles fast during the 40 days of Lent before Easter, the feasting begins in earnest on Easter Sunday. During the week before this, the grocery stores and markets are a frenzy of kielbasa-pork-sweets purchases! Last year, I made Polish zurek soup, which is one of my favorites, for the first time at home. The soup is made from a fermented rye flour base and contains kielbasa and hard-boiled eggs. This article describes in detail the Polish Easter foods and includes some recipes.We may not be Polish, but we’ve enjoyed seeing the different Polish Easter traditions here in Warsaw.
Happy Easter and Smacznego!