Celebrating a traditional Polish Easter was the highlight of Spring for me as a child. Perhaps a new Easter dress, a white straw purse with a yellow daisy and patent leather shoes…
Remembering my family celebrating a traditional Polish Easter bring happy memories, but also the reminder of those no longer celebrating with us.
I grew up in a little town in Northeastern Pennsylvania, where we Polish-Catholic families outnumbered pretty much everyone else. That’s not saying much, because “everyone else” mainly consisted of Irish and Italian Catholics, with an occasional Greek Orthodox thrown into the mix.
My childhood was rich in exposure to my Polish heritage, as we lived next door to my paternal grandparents and great-grandmother, BABCIA, in Polish.
I also had numerous Great-Aunts and Uncles living in town. It made for lively family meals and lots of games of Pinocle. (card game) My family were card sharks, for sure! All of the children learned to play at an early age too!
Of course, these are all memories as recalled through the eyes of a child. And that child moved from the area at 14 years of age. So you’ll need to take them with a grain of salt! But that’s exactly how I remember my birthplace.
MAKE SURE TO CLICK ON THE LINKS AT THE END OF THIS POST FOR LOTS MORE EASTER ENTERTAINING IDEAS
After the strict fasting of Lent, celebrating a traditional Polish Easter means readying for the annual feast.
In Poland, Good Friday evening is for coloring and decorating hard-cooked eggs with traditional Polish designs.
On Easter Saturday, święconka baskets are filled with salt, hard-cooked eggs, butter, sausage, ham, bread, babka, and other foods to be eaten on Easter.
On Holy Thursday, I eagerly awaited the arrival of my many first cousins to help celebrate the holiday.
We were quite the gaggle of kids, all looking forward to plenty of playing, eating and enjoying our Easter basket booty.
Our family usually colored our eggs on Good Friday morning, so we would be ready for the Stations of the Cross at our parish in the afternoon. The Stations of the Cross are a 14-step Catholic devotion that commemorates Jesus Christ’s last day on Earth as a man.
It was a very solemn Easter activity, especially for me, as I attended Catholic School and was taught by nuns. They instilled a deep reverence for religion in me that has lasted a lifetime.
Bright and early on Easter Saturday, my siblings, cousins and I would walk the three blocks to our Polish-Catholic Church. There would always be 2-3 święconka baskets to take to be blessed in the basement where I attended CCD classes on Sunday mornings.
Long tables would be set up to place our baskets in anticipation of our priest, dressed in his purple Easter vestments, entering the room.
He would slowly walk past the tables, dipping his aspergil (sprinkler) into a silver bucket of holy water and dousing our baskets as he recited prayers.
My grandmother was particularly concerned with her salt shaker getting “hit” with the holy water, so we would position the baskets accordingly. You didn’t want to mess with her!
On Easter morning, the feasting begins with a breakfast taste of everything in the basket. And that was just fine with me!
Our family played a game with our colored eggs before we started eating our Easter morning repast. It didn’t even have a name, so I’m not going to try to give it one.
The object of the game was to be the only person at the table with an egg that had at least “one un-cracked end”.
The only rule was that it had to be decided who would actually “hit” the other person’s egg. You couldn’t both smash your eggs into each other. I guess we were being “civilized” about it!
Once every person had a “crack” at each other’s eggs, you would start the second round with the eggs that still were in the running. The game seldom went longer than 2 rounds, with some eggs dropping out to be eaten before a winner was actually declared.
That was the only other “rule” to this game, you had to eat your “contestant” after the game was done!
Makowiec (pronounced: Mak-ov-yetz) is a strudel-like, yeast poppy seed cake that’s one of Poland’s most popular desserts.
It’s main attraction is the filling rolled between light layers of yeasty sweet dough. Inside, it’s stuffed with finely-ground poppy seeds, honey, butter, raisins and walnuts.
When made right, the cake is absolutely delicious. It’s safe to say that many a poppy-seed cake lover would agree that the more the filling, the better.
CLICK HERE FOR THE RECIPE: Polish Poppyseed Roll
Here’s some great Easter entertaining printables for you to try! There’s a fabulous Easter invitation with matching guest place cards and napkin rings!
What would an Easter Celebration be without some adorable party decorations? I’ve created some colorful Spring “swirlies” to “hang around” your party too!
You’ll want to print the decorations on nice card stock, glossy or matte, it’s your choice. Choose some pretty colored construction paper for the “swirly”, and you’ve got some really simple, quick and cute Easter party decorations.
I’LL TELL YOU A LITTLE LATER IN THIS POST HOW TO GET YOUR OWN SET OF EASTER CELEBRATION PRINTABLES!
“24 HOUR” FRUIT SALAD RECIPE (that’s what our family calls it!)
Fruit salads are a holiday staple for Poles. Whether it has a creamy dressing or not, you’re likely to see some version of it on most Polish family holiday tables.
As with many Polish holiday traditions, most families have their own recipe for fruit salad that is on their annual menus.
I have no idea of the origins of this recipe, but my older sister doesn’t think it’s Christmas without it!
I’ve renamed the recipe for publication, as I felt our family’s moniker might be a little intimidating for the gals on Pinterest!
However, you do need to make this recipe a full day before serving it, because, well I actually have no idea.
Is all I know is that it turns out perfect after 24 hours refrigeration.
But I think that’s a good enough reason, don’t you?
The dressing of our family recipe uses a whipped cream base that’s actually started by “cooking” it. You begin by combining sugar, lemon juice and an egg yolk in a small saucepan and cooking it until it thickens.
That’s the “secret ingredient” to this recipe! It sounds like it gets too involved, but this step takes only 5 minutes, BUT MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE.
Now you do, of course, still have to whip the heavy cream in a chilled bowl, with chilled beaters, but so what! That only takes about 5 minutes too.
So, now you’ve invested a WHOLE 10 MINUTES! See, it’s really a breeze to pull together in a half-hour’s time, and that includes draining the canned fruits.
I hope you’ll give one of my favorite family recipes a try this Easter. Here’s a little gift from my family’s recipe box!
CLICK HERE TO GET THE RECIPE FOR: OVERNIGHT WHIPPED CREAM FRUIT SALAD
Celebrating a traditional Polish Easter without Pickled Eggs and Beets would be sacrilege!
This is another traditional Polish holiday food with a simple straight-forward recipe.
But, you’ll always find a few subtle variations from family to family. For instance, our family recipe contains whole cloves and peppercorns.
You never know what Babcia would decide to do to distinguish her Pickled Eggs and Beets from her BFF’s recipe.
The competition must have been fierce, but probably unspoken!
My Mom and I are a big fan of having Pickled Eggs and Beets for breakfast, every day after Easter.
With just the right combination of egg, beets and onions cut up on a plate, then drizzled with some of the pickling juice, it makes for a lovely post-holiday morning repast.
Once you’ve hard-cooked and peeled the number of eggs you want to pickle, this recipe comes together in a matter of minutes.
What’s really neat is that as you take eggs out of the container, you can add some new eggs to be pickled. Just make sure you let them pickle for at least 48 hours before eating them.
If you’ve never actually made Pickled Eggs and Beets, maybe this year is the time to celebrate Easter with a little “Polish” attitude! Why not make it one of your Easter entertaining ideas for your family celebration?
CLICK HERE TO READ THE POST: POLISH PICKLED EGGS AND BEETS WITH ONIONS
Celebrating a traditional Polish Easter wouldn’t be the same without a Sweet Butter Molded Lamb on the Easter dinner table.
START WITH 2 CUPS HEAVY CREAM – not ultra-pasturized please! (If you want salted butter, add it in stage 1)
Transfer butter to an attractive 1-cup crock or ramekin. You’ll probably need to pat off any remaining beads of liquid. Brush the top with a decorative comb or the tines of a fork and, if desired, sprinkle the top lightly with Kosher or sea salt. Either use the butter immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
AND THAT’S CELEBRATING A TRADITIONAL POLISH EASTER – MY WAY!
Here’s some of the incredible Easter entertaining ideas you’ll find here at Ingredients For A Fabulous Life!
Wait till you see the adorable Easter invitations with matching Guest Place Cards and Napkin Rings! They really add some holiday panache to your Easter dinner tablescape. It’s just another one of our fabulous Easter entertaining ideas.
Click here to read the posts now: Easter Dinner Recipes + Printable Invites-Place Cards-Napkin Rings
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