Saturday, March 30, 2013

Centuries Old Easter Traditions Alive in Salem

Today the faithful parishioners of St. John the Baptist Parrish on St. Peter street took part in a centuries old Easter tradition of blessing of the food. On Holy Saturday, the Saturday before Easter, Polish Catholics put together baskets of a sampling of the foods to be eaten on Easter Sunday, take it to their parish where the parish priest blesses the food.

At the ceremony Rev. Msgr. Stanislaw Parfienczyk, reads prayers to bless the bread, eggs and meat. 

Then the baskets are sprinkled with Holy water. 

The ceremony concludes with a few general prayers and comments from the Priest.

What kinds of things are brought to church?

Here is a list of what is generally placed in the baskets and what they symbolize:

  • White napkin or cloth which symbolizes the shroud placed on Jesus as he lay in the tomb
  • A Lamb, which can be made of any material generally molded in butter or sugar. This symbolizes Jesus, the Pascal lamb
  • Hard boiled eggs that symbolizes new life
  • Bread which represents the bread of life given by God
  • Meat and Kielbasa which symbolizes the resurrection of Christ
  • Horseradish that symbolizes accepting the bitter and the sweet in life
  • Salt which adds zest to life and and preserves us from corruption
  • Candy which symbolizes the promise of eternal life or good things to come

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