BACK to Polish Easter HOME   Swieconka
Swieconka  *  Blessing of the Food  *  Basket Foods & Symbolism

Swieconka * Blessing of the Baskets 

    Swieconka (sh-vee-en-soon-kah) is one of the most enduring and beloved Polish traditions. Baskets containing a sampling of Easter foods are brought to church to be blessed on Holy Saturday. The basket is traditionally lined with a white linen or lace napkin and decorated with sprigs of boxwood (bukszpan), the typical Easter evergreen. Poles take special pride in preparing a decorative and tasteful basket with crisp linens, occasionally embroidered for the occasion, and just enough boxwood and ribbon woven through the handle. Observing the beautiful foods and creations of other parishioners is one of the special joys of the event.
    While in some older or rural communities, the priest visits the home to bless the foods, the vast majority of Poles and Polish Americans visit the church on Holy Saturday, once again praying at the Tomb of the Lord.

* Mid-century Polish-American home Swieconka
* 1970s Polish-American home Swieconka
* Contemporary Swieconka in Krakow
* Polish American Basket Ready for Swieconka
* Contemporary Swieconka in Chicago Polonia
* A Polish florist (Kwiaciarnia) with Easter bukszpan & willows
* Embroidered Swieconka basket linen

Poswiecenie Pokarmow * Blessing of Food

    The Blessing of the Food is a festive occasion. The three-part blessing prayers specifically address the various contents of the basket, with special prayers for the meats, eggs, cakes & breads. 

* View the blessing of the breads (Video)
* Read the prayer for the blessing of breads (Polish w/Eng summary)
* View the blessing of the meats (Video)
* Read the prayer for the blessing of meats (Polish w/Eng summary)
* View the blessing of the eggs (Video)
* Read the prayer for the blessing of eggs (Polish w/Eng summary)

The priest then sprinkles the individual baskets with Holy Water. More traditional Polish churches uses a straw brush for dispersing the Water; others use the more modern metal Holy Water sprinkling wand. In some parishes, the baskets are lined up on long tables; in others, parishioners process to the front of the alter carrying their baskets, as if in a Communion line. Older generations of Polish Americans, descended from early 19th century immigrants, tend to bless whole meal quantities, often brought to church halls or cafeterias in large hampers & picnic baskets. Newer Polonian immigrants at Polish-language parishes along with Poles in urban Poland present the smaller arrangement of select goods described here.

* Diagram and list of Basket Contents and Symbolism
* See a Swienconka Basket
* Dla Dzieci / For Kids: Swieconka to Print & Color
* View the Blessing of the Baskets (Video)
* Pray along with the Congregation at Swieconka as they say 
      the Ojcze Nasz (Our Father) & Zdrowas Maryjo (Hail Mary)
      for Poland, their families, and the faithful departed (Video)
* Text for the Our Father & Hail Mary (Polish / English)