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Bring your basket of foods to be blessed on Holy Saturday

For many Catholics, especially those of Eastern European descent, bringing a basket of foods that will be enjoyed on Easter Sunday is an important part of their Triduum traditions. Whether this is a long-standing custom passed down in your family through the generations, or your first time, you are invited to pack a basket with items representing your feast to be blessed at 3 p.m. on Holy Saturday by Deacon Paul, who will lead a short prayer service in our church.

Each food holds special significance and reminds us of the Lord’s providence and the hope of Christ’s Resurrection. (Credit: TheCatholicWitness.org)

Basket Contents and Symbolism

  • Eggs – Decorated Ukrainian pysanky or various dyed or plain white eggs; symbolizing hope, new life and Christ’s Resurrection from the tomb
  • Butter – Dairy products are included to celebrate the end of Lent and the richness of our salvation; re­minds us of the goodness of Christ that we should have toward all things
  • Easter Bread – A round loaf, sweetened yeast Pas­ka or rye, topped with a cross, symbolic of Jesus, the Bread of Life
  • Horseradish – Symbolic of the bitterness and harshness of the Passion of Christ; the vinegar it is mixed with symbolizing the sour wine given to Jesus on the cross but sweetened with some sugar because of the Resurrection. This may be white or pink with grated red beets
  • Pepper – Also symbolic of the Passion of Christ and the bitter herbs
  • Kielbassa/Sausage – The links are symbolic of the chains of death that were broken when Jesus rose from the dead, as well as God’s favor and generosity
  • Ham, Lamb or Veal – Meats are symbolic of great joy and abundance in Christ’s Resurrection
  • Smoked Bacon – With its great fattiness, it is a symbol of the overabundance of God’s mercy and generosity
  • Salt – A necessary element in our physical life; symbolic of purification, prosperity and justice; pre­serves us from corruption. Jesus used its symbolism: “You are the salt of the earth”
  • Cheese – Usually fresh, dry curd or farmer’s cheese shaped into a ball, it is the symbol of the mod­eration Christians should practice
  • Holy Water – Used to bless the home, animals, fields and used in various rituals throughout the year
  • Sweets – Fruits, candy, poppy seed and nut rolls, pastry items; promise of eternal life or good things to come

The food included within any basket can be easily personalized to meet family needs and desires. Today’s baskets might be just as likely to include chocolate bunnies and dog treats.

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