Monday, April 1, 2013
POLISH EASTER TRADITIONS
I am researching my Polish relatives and finding out various facts about them -- dates of their births, marriages and deaths -- but what about their traditions and how they celebrated holidays. I am hoping that if I learn about some Polish holiday traditions that might give me a better understanding of how they might have celebrated special days. Since yesterday was Easter, I might as well start there.
With a little research, I learned that since there are no palm trees in Poland, they used "pussy willows" instead. I have been receiving palms on Palm Sunday since I was a tiny child and never really thought about what people, who live in countries without palm trees, do for Palm Sunday. Pussy willows are called "bazie" or "kotki" in Poland.
Food, which will be served on Easter Sunday, is placed in a basket and taken to Mass for a blessing. We have a similar tradition at my Catholic church on Thanksgiving morning. After Mass, is the tradition of "Swiecone" or the Easter Breakfast, which consists of predominately cold dishes -- ham, kielbasa, hard boiled eggs, beets and horseradish, followed by a holiday cake (babka).
I love the idea of the lamb cake, which commemorates Jesus as the "Paschal lamb". The cake is made of pound cake batter and put in a metal "lamb" shaped mold. It is frosted with white cream cheese frosting and raisins are used for the eyes. I showed a picture of a lamb cake to my daughter and she thought we should make one.
There are other Polish Easter traditions, like the "pisanki" ("written" decorated eggs), but I will leave that for another post. In the meantime, if you would like to read more about Polish Easter traditions, visit www.polishcenter.org or www.polskiinternet.com.
In closing, let me close with the Polish Easter greeting -- "Wesolych Swiat"