Does your church have a blessing of the food you will eat at your Easter meal? Ours does and the first time I participated I was really excited to be part of the special celebration. This is a centuries old custom which is symbolic and beautiful. It was originally a Polish custom and other churches adopted it. The whole family helped prepare for the blessing. I pray this tradition continues for future generations. What a wonderful way to celebrate Easter by having Christ represented at our Easter dinner.
The blessing of the Easter foods is said to have begun because the Polish people were grateful for the food on their table. They had their food blessed with the hope that spring, the season of the Resurrection, would also be blessed by God’s goodness and mercy. The baskets that were brought to church and blessed on Holy Saturday. The baskets contained a sampling of the Easter foods the family would eat at Easter dinner. Not their whole dinner, just a sample of each item they would be eating.
Some of the foods to be blessed had symbolic meanings: Eggs are a symbol of life and rebirth, sausage (kielbasa) or ham were forbidden under the Old Testament, but when Christ came the forbidden food became acceptable. (Mark 7:9). A form in the shape of a lamb was included to represent the Pascal Lamb. The lamb can be made of butter, cake, or plaster. This is the centerpiece on the table during dinner because it represents Christ , who is the “Lamb of God.”
Herbs like horseradish and pepper are included because they symbolize the bitter herbs of the Passover. Salt is included because it and bread in Polish tradition are a sign of hospitality. Bread is also a symbol of Christ’s being the “Bread of Life”. I’m sure if you were having dinner rolls, you could bring a couple of them, instead of bread. Vinegar symbolizes the bitter drink Jesus was given at his crucifixion. Finally wine is in the basket, too because it symbolizes the blood sacrifice spilled by Christ at the crucifixion.
I love these symbolic tidbits, when I find them. I love anything that helps to make Easter more meaningful. I’m going to include these items this year in my basket. Each thing we eat will have more meaning, as it reminds us of Christ’s love and sacrifice. I’m going to have to go the craft store and find a lamb in some form for my table. I like this symbol because the lamb will remind us of Jesus and that he is right there with us, as the meaning for our celebration.