The blessing of the Easter food, or the "Swieconka" is a tradition dear to the heart of every Pole. Being deeply religious, he is grateful to God for all His gifts of both nature and grace, and, as a token of this gratitude, has the food of his table sanctified with the hope that spring, the season of the Resurrection, will also be blessed by God's goodness and mercy.

The usual fare on the Easter table includes ham and kielbasa, cakes of all kinds - particularly babka; eggs - some shelled or some decorated. There is usually a Paschal Lamb or "Baranek" made of butter, some cheese, horseradish, salt, vinegar and oil.

The food is brought to the church and blessed by the parish priest on Holy Saturday. The food can also be blessed in the home. After the blessing, the food is usually set aside until Easter morning when the head of the house shares the blessed egg, symbol of life, with family and friends. Having exchanged wishes, all continue to enjoy a hearty meal.

This centuries old custom is indeed richly symbolic and beautiful. It is one in which the whole family can participate and help prepare. May this tradition endure for many generations to come.

All of you can enjoy this beautiful Polish custom by participating at the blessing of the Easter food "Swieconka" at the Polish church nearest you. This is an excellent way to teach the younger members of your family about this treasured Polish tradition.

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