Saturday Special: Ukrainian Easter Basket Day!

You guys!

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.
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:Β  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.
Our Easter basket with a special rose-shaped butter made by Baba.
Baba with her basket in 2010.
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.
MomFOD and Baba, Easter 2010.



  • alana….this is awesome…how long does it take to make those eggs? happy belated basket day, enjoyed reading about your traditions ……the rushnyk iz way cool πŸ™‚

    • Thank you! The ones on the outside? 2 seconds with shrink wrap. πŸ˜› Days if I were to do them by hand. The ones on the inside – a few hours. They’re boiled and I used food colors, not pysanky dye. You can’t eat that. Then you put the wax on, maybe 5 to 10 minutes for each egg, depending on how quick you are, then you dye it, and then you take the wax off with a candle and a towel. That takes a little longer. The rushnyk is our favorite part. πŸ™‚

  • Thank you so much for the lovely comments, everyone! I’m so glad you enjoyed learning about our culture! Happy Easter! Love, Crepes.

  • What a lovely post. Love seeing you and your Baba and hearing about your traditions. Beautiful egga and the hand-stitched rushnyk. Happy Easter.
    Sue B

  • Very cool! Thanks for sharing about this. We were not familiar with this tradition at all. πŸ™‚ Have a Happy Easter!

    We have nominated you for an award. We posted about it today if you want to stop by and check it out!

  • What a fantastic tradition. Mom’s Nana used to make Easter Bread and the Churches around here still do blessings of Easter food on Holy Saturday. Mom kind of chuckled about the fire in the basket….she worries about that at Easter Vigil when everyone has a candle!

    The Florida Furkids

  • Loved seeing this because it brought back good memories. You are probably thinking “Huh? How does this bring back good memories for a Jewish girl?” Well….having lived in Cleveland for 35 years, they have a HUGE Ukranian, Hungarian, Polish population (the FOOD is the BEST!!), I had some dear Ukranian friends and loved listening to and partaking in their traditions. This was delightful! Love your precious Baba!!! Happy Happy Easter!

  • What a lovely tradition your culture has! I wish I knew how your Baba made the butter look like a beautiful rose, I love it when food is all fancy. Have a wonderful Easter Saturday and Sunday, hopefully you Grelyak kitties get plenty of holiday noms to enjoy.

  • My human really enjoyed learning more about this tradition! She thinks you are very lucky, as she grew up with nothing to link her to her cultural roots – something she really wishes she had.

  • Happy Basket Day! Thank you for sharing your traditions with us πŸ™‚

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