Saturday, April 29, 2017
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Easter and Lent

Easter Food Blessing: An Ancient Polish Custom

Holy week customs that go back at least 1000 years are still being observed in the Delaware Valley. Many people of Polish or other Eastern European descent make a basket of Easter foods to be blessed on Holy Saturday and take it to their parish priest. This custom is a very important part of a Holy Week rich in traditions passed on from one generation to the next. This basket was called Swieconka and usually has food symbolic of the Easter holiday.

Read more: Easter Food Blessing: An Ancient Polish Custom


Polish Easter Tradition from Montreal Canada

The celebration of Easter in our family does not occur during Holy Week only, it starts on Ash Wednesday and continues until Easter Resurrection Mass at 6am followed by Easter lunch and dinner. Following Ash Wednesday a date is set in church for Recollection/Reflection Week, the week starts during Sunday Mass and continues for three evenings of masses celebrated by a visiting priest from Poland or another country. This experience of Recollection/Reflection Week is always a learning experience. This week of reflection means reevaluating my purpose in life, my values and faith. Once Lent starts, we eat fish on Fridays. This may sound as if we are very religious, but we are not, this has been a tradition since my childhood, I am 44.

Read more: Polish Easter Tradition from Montreal Canada


Art of Coloring Easter Eggs in Poland: Wax Flowing Technique

Pisanki (Pisanky, pysanky) are colored and decorated Easter eggs. The art of pisanki is cultivated in Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania and many other East and Central European countries. The name pisanki comes from the word "pisac" means "to write" or "to print". Easter eggs are in Polish called jajka wielkanocne.

Beautiful Easter Eggs made by use of a wax-melting techniqueEaster Eggs are the symbols of life and they were believed to have magical properties. These beliefs were originally associated with an old pagan tradition which gradually faded out, so that Easter eggs became incorporated to the Christian tradition of Easter. The oldest painted eggs found in Poland originated from the X century. Read several articles about Polish pagan and Easter traditions and habits in Poland.

Final step - remowing the waxThere are several techniques to make pisanki. Pisanki from different regions of Poland can be distinguished by the unique patters. The most common decorating technique is so called wax-flowing or wax-melting. Special kits for painting eggs with a funneled pen, color dyes and a wax can be purchased in Ukrainian or Polish gift shops.

The wax-melting technique of painting is very complex and consist of several stages. First the pattern is painted by use of the funelled pen filled with the melted wax, later the egg is dipped in the selected color and so and so again until the painting is done in all chosen colors starting from the lightest and finish with the darkest. The final and very important step is a removing of the wax from the egg.

Read more: Art of Coloring Easter Eggs in Poland: Wax Flowing Technique


A Polish Easter in Philadelphia

Growing up in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia was a wonderful experience. Like many of the ethnic groups in our area, lives and customs were connected to our churches.

Being a member of the Polish church - Easter was a special time to our family. I can remember Babci making puncki (pounchki, Polish donuts) on Shrove Tuesday. The aroma that came from the kitchen was wonderful.

Read more: A Polish Easter in Philadelphia


Lent and Easter in Hamtramck

Lent and Easter in Hamtramck was not like the days before Christmas. It was the 1940's and WW2 was still in progress and there was that thing called rationing to me Lent was a sort of grey thing, not the beautiful haze grey that greets a fresh Spring morning but a dark grey that marks a funeral. I always think of holidays in terms of color.

Read more: Lent and Easter in Hamtramck


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This is Brande from Uganda with a photo of Ela, my daughter.

Polish Pottery

Polish pottery