I don’t normally post on Saturday, as you know, but I wanted to share with you a bit of culture. You see, today is Ukrainian Easter basket day! If you happen to live within the vicinity of a Ukrainian church, you may notice people walking around with covered baskets. That’s because, each Saturday before Easter, Ukrainians make a special basket to carry to church to bless the foods that will be eaten in the next morning’s meal.
This year’s pysanky! MomFOD decorated a few traditionally in the two colors, and then skipped a few days worth of work and shrink wrapped the rest. There’s still a bit of wax left on that blue one in front.
There are a few parts that make up the basket:
The babka or paska: a special Easter bread that’s delicious!
The pysanky: decorated eggs. These eggs are usually decorated with geometric shapes, many of which represent designs from ancient pagan times, before Christianity came to the area that is now Ukraine. The eggs are usually designed with a kistka and beeswax and then dyed, although to save time we sometimes use Ukrainian shrink wrap. A modern convenience!
We also include salt, sausage, ham, horseradish, and butter, and adorn the basket with vines like the barvinok (periwinkle). Some people tuck in other things they want blessed like rosaries or other personal items. A candle is placed within the basket and lit during the blessing.
Another important part that we include is the rushnyk, a special type of ritual cloth. In our house, MomFOD has a very special one that was hand-stitched by her Baba (grandma) and was one of the last pieces of embroidery she made before she passed away.
Baba’s hand-stitched rushnyk
Of course, every year in our family SOMETHING gets set on fire by the basket candle, and one year it was gramFOD’s sleeve! Haha.
Our Easter basket with a special rose-shaped butter made by Baba.
Baba with her basket in 2010.
We hope you enjoyed this small peek into our culture and don’t mind our sharing it with you. We’re very proud of our traditions and do our best to keep them up. Happy Basket Day, everyone!
Alana and Crepes.
MomFOD and Baba, Easter 2010.