I always get asked what my family does for Easter, and people are always surprised when I start explaining what we cook, bake and do for the Easter weekend so I thought I would share my native tradition with you.
So as many people around the world know, Easter technically starts on Ash Wednesday when we go to church and fasting starts.
Exactly a week before Easter Sunday, people in Poland gather for a procession with palms in their hands. Poland has special colourful palms that are usually made out of branches of native trees, including box, willow, yew and olive trees. We do this because according to the Catholic tradition, the day marks the entrance of Jesus in Jerusalem on a donkey.
The Holy Week preceding Easter usually means 'spring cleaning' in the household. Families are getting ready for the Holy weekend and this is also when the cooking and baking starts.
On Good Friday, my family usually gets everything prepared for the blessing of the baskets that happen the next morning. We boil and decorate eggs using dyes and paints, we bake mazurek, babka gotowana and sernik.
"Egg painting is encountered in several other Slavic cultures, and is thought to date back to talismanic pagan rituals that are over 5000 years old."
Every year, we go to a nearby Cathedral to get the baskets blessed. The basket usually includes eggs, sausage and ham, salt, bread, a piece of Mazurek and a lamb made out of butter or sugar. It is after the baskets are blessed that the Lent stops for us.
The most important part of the day on Holy Sunday is the breakfast. The family gathers together at a table to eat the blessed food and other cold dishes that have been prepared for this day.
In my house, for the rest of the day we enjoy family time. We have dinner, dessert and then supper at the end of the day.
Yes, you read that right; in Poland we have a Wet Monday. You might be wondering what this is, so let me explain this to you. Up until 12pm on the Monday, there is a tradition that people are allowed to soak others with water. Weather its a water gun or a bucket, there is no running away from this tradition.
And that is about it. I am from the North of Poland, and I know that people from different places have different traditions yet this is the one my family has been going with and I can't imagine having it any other way.