At 1:00 p.m. on Holy Saturday, we will once again be blessing food baskets. Since not everyone is familiar with this beautiful Eastern European custom, a word of explanation is offered here.
A particular symbolism is attached to each food placed in the traditional Easter basket. The Pascha, or Easter Bread, represents Christ, “the Living Bread.” It is usually a round loaf decorated with a braid and cross. Meat, representing the joy and abundance of Easter, gives us strength. It is usually ham, sausage, or veal. The cooked, decorated egg represents the Resurrection. Just as new life came from the tomb of Christ, new life springs forth from the dormant egg. Butter, in the shape of a lamb, represents Christ, the Lamb of God who was sacrificed so that all may have new life. Salt, which preserves food, reminds us that Christ’s teaching preserves our eternal life. Horseradish, mixed with grated red beets, represents the Passion of Christ. The bitter-sweet mixture reminds us of Christ’s sufferings, but the sugar in it sweetens the memory because of the Resurrection.
There are other foods that may be found in the basket in addition to these basics. Most of them could also be found at the first Seder (evening) meal of a Jewish home during Passover. In fact, many of them are so prescribed in the Old Testament.
Whether you choose to follow the tradition or make up a basket of your own items, please plan on joining us at 1:00 p.m. on Holy Saturday. The brief ceremony is a wonderful addition to Holy Week.