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Baranek Wielkanocny (Easter Lamb) * Importance of Easter Foods
Polish Easter Cakes * Polish Easter Soup (Zurek) * More Food

Baranek Wielkanocny * Easter Lamb

   The Easter Lamb bearing a cross-emblazoned flag (Resurrection Banner) represents Christ Resurrected and is thus the typical Polish Easter symbol. At the center of Catholic Mass is the sacrifice of the Lamb of God in the Eucharist. The lamb adorns greeting cards; sugar lambs are blessed in Easter baskets and plaster lambs form the centerpiece of the Swiecone table. The sugar lambs are most often blessed in children's baskets as a sweet treat.
   Typically the table also includes a butter lamb shaped by hand, in a mold, or purchased from delis and Polish markets. This lamb is always included in the basket to be blessed.
   The lamb also appears in the dessert form of the Lamb Cake, a pound cake shaped and decorated, often sitting atop Easter grass, and always carrying the Resurrection Banner.
* See the plaster Easter Lamb
* See the Lamb Cake
* See sugar Lambs
* See hand-crafted straw Lamb
* See Wycinanki (Polish Paper Cutting) Lamb
* If you live outside Polonia, purchase a butter lamb mold online

Polish Easter Cakes
   The most typical Polish Easter cake, virtually universal, is the Babka [bob-kuh], a rich bread-like cake, often shaped in a "bundt" shape, reminiscent of a woman's skirts, hence its name Babka (Grandmother Cake). An ingenious form is often used in the U.S. when the cake is baked into a coffee can. (Often mini Easter babka, Babeczka, is blessed for the children.) Also prominent are the lamb cake, the Polish specialty of Makowiec [ma-ko-vee-ets](poppy seed cake), Sernik [sair-neek] (Polish style cheesecake) and other sweets.

* Babka recipe with illustration
* Makowiec recipe (Poppy Seed Cake) with illustration
* Sernik recipe (Polish cheese cake) with illustration

Zurek Wielkanocny * Polish Easter Soup
  Zurek [zhooh-rek] is often served at the Easter meal, garnished with the hard-boiled eggs and Polish sausage (kielbasa) of the celebration. This "white borscht" is made from a starter called Zur, a sour starter similar to that used in sourdough bread.

* Zurek recipe with illustration

The importance of Easter foods
  The centrality of food, celebration and hospitality to Polish Easter are reflected in the most typical Polish proverb:
"Gosc w Dom, Bog w Dom."
(Guest in the home is God in the home.)
  The proverb is realized in everyday Polish life through the legendary Polish hospitality, especially concerning food. Stranger or friend is always welcome and never bid farewell without a serving of food, even in the most modest of circumstances.
"Czem chata bogata, tem rada."
(The little cottage shares what it has.)
  Lemnis and Vitry's study of Old Polish cookery in the Middle ages presents two medieval fragments from old Polish Palm Sunday songs. These charming fragments show the eagerness for the Easter feast following Lenten austerity:
Fragment 1:
Layer cakes
And stuffed kielbasy are good
Let me, Christ, taste this
Let me see these Easter delicacies.

Fragment 2
I shall praise you that you are good, Lord,
When I eat some ham for breakfast.

  To Poles, the holiest of all edibles is bread. Often when cutting into a loaf or round initially, the knife is maneuvered so as to make the Sign of the Cross. When bread is dropped to the floor (a sacrilege), the loaf is often kissed when picked up. This sacredness, so valued by Polish culture, is reflected in the Easter bread which is especially marked with a Cross (in contemporary times, often a purple paper decal.) The purple hue reflects the color of liturgical vestments and altar linens during the Lenten season. It is indicative of the Lord's Passion. Thus two predominant Easter foods are Beet Salad (Buraczki) (a deep purple) and beet-colored Horseradish (Chrzan).

* Horseradish (Chrzan) recipe (Central to Polish Easter meals; a condiment for ham and hard-boiled eggs)
* Buraczki (Beet Salad) recipe

For more Polish Easter Foods, explore the Swieconka basket and its symbolism. For more recipes and illustrations, also see the Easter Meal, Swiecone.