Ukrainian Traditional Easter BasketI love the traditions associated with Ukrainian Easter, and especially the Blessing of the Easter Basket, which contains all the food items used at Easter Brunch.

The Easter Basket of special foods (described below) is arranged on Holy Saturday, and taken to church, where a special blessing ceremony with prayers and sprinkling with Holy Water, is performed by the parish priest.  Some churches perform their basket blessing on Easter Sunday, after the Morning Liturgy.

Besides the special foods, the Easter Basket is also decorated with greenery and flowers, as well as colored eggs, and beautiful Pysanky.

Each basket is covered with a hand embroidered cloth cover, with Easter motif of pussy willows and Easter Eggs.

This blessed food may not be consumed until after the morning Resurrection Liturgy on Easter Sunday.

The food in the basket is the only food being consumed at the Easter Brunch, which breaks The Great Lent fasting.

After Easter Brunch, the Easter celebration continues for the rest of the day, with family and friends visiting, and enjoying many other foods and desserts.

Today I will describe all the different foods used to fill the basket, and their Christian symbolism.

Paska

Paska - Special Easter Bread (sweet yeast bread, rich in eggs, butter, etc), takes the center stage in the basket.

Symbolic of Christ, who is the True Bread to Christians. Paska bread is always round in shape, and decorated with a dough braid around the perimeter, and a ornamental cross in the middle.  The Cross reminds Christians that Christ died on the Cross for their salvation.

Diets and Watson Smoked Ham

Baked Ham – very popular meat for the Slavs as the main dish, because of its richness.  It is symbolic of the great joy, and abundance of Easter.  Some prefer Lamb or Veal.

Kobasa from NYC

Kobasa - a spicy, garlicky, smoked pork sausage.  Indicative of God’s favor and generosity.

Burachky - Red Beet Vineagrette Horseradish

Red Beet Vinaigrette (with Horseradish), or plain Horseradish, is symbolic of the Passion of Christ still in the minds of Christians, but sweetened with some sugar, because of the Resurrection.  The bitter-sweet red colored mixture is a reminder of the sufferings of Christ.

Salt

Salt is also included in the basket, necessary for flavor, and as a reminder to Christians of their duty to others.

Butter

Butter - A favorite dairy product, is usually nicely displayed and decorated with a cross made out of cloves, or allspice grains.  Some prefer to mold it into a shape of a Lamb.  Butter is symbolic of  the goodness of Christ, that we should have toward all things.

Cheese

Cheese - Creamed cheese, or “Hrudka”, a sweetened cheese ball, decorated with same herbs as butter, indicative of the moderation that Christians should have in all things.

Eggs - are another very important food item in the Easter Basket.  All eggs are hard boiled, and kept in their shell. There should be at least one or two hard boiled eggs per person, for the Easter Brunch.  One of the hard boiled eggs is peeled, as it will be cut to as many pieces as there are attendees to the Easter Brunch, and shared with everyone, accompanied by salt and horseradish.

Wishing you a Happy and Blessed Easter!!

Share This Post:
  • E-mail this story to a friend!
  • StumbleUpon
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • del.icio.us
  • Print this article!
  • Reddit

Related posts:

  1. Ukrainian Easter Basket – Beautiful Tradition
  2. Embroidered Scarf – Ukrainian Easter Basket Cover
  3. Ukrainian Easter Traditions – Paska Bread, Easter Basket, Easter Eggs (Pysanky)
  4. Easter Sunday – Julian Calendar
  5. Traditional Easter Bread – Ukrainian Paska Recipe
Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

23 Responses

  1. Staci

    April 22nd, 2011 at 6:06 am

    1

    Sigh… I miss this tradition. I moved from my family 26 years ago and our family traditions didn’t make the move with us, mostly because we moved from the north to the south where “Old Country” heritage is almost nonexistent.

    A couple of years ago I found a Polish priest at a Catholic church about 60 miles away who was blessing baskets. That year I prepared a basket just as I remembered my mom did when I was a little girl and traveled the 60 miles to have my basket blessed with five other women and their beautiful baskets.

  2. Suburban Grandma

    April 22nd, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    2

    I know exactly what you mean. Several years back I lived in Virginia, and had to travel to Washington, DC to bless our paska. We were lucky enough to find a Ukrainian church in DC, and it was such a moving experience to see all the people with their Easter Baskets full of delicious Easter food for blessing.
    I totally applaud you for trying to keep up with the tradition, and teaching your family about it.
    Happy Easter!

  3. Ukrainian Mama

    April 23rd, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    3

    Love your website Suburban Grandma! Stumbled across it today and I’m enjoying some of your archived posts. Wanted to share with you that the tradition of blessing Easter Baskets in both Ukrainian Catholic and Orthodox Churches is still celebrated up here in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Ukrainian meat markets and bakeries do a huge business on Easter weekend and the churches are packed with people dressed in their finest spring clothes, bearing beautiful baskets filled with traditional Ukrainian Easter breakfast foods. A wonderful tradition that will last forever…

  4. Suburban Grandma

    April 24th, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    4

    Khrystos Voskres!
    Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to leave such a lovely comment. I am very pleased to hear that Ukrainian in Canada are continuing to practice this beautiful Easter tradition. You all are lucky to have Ukrainian businesses who provide the wonderful foods (paska, kobasa, etc), to fill Easter Baskets with, and enjoy on Easter Sunday.
    Please stop by again.

  5. Sheila

    April 27th, 2011 at 1:08 am

    5

    This looks SO good! :) And it is so nice that you religiously follow your tradition. Hope you had a wonderful Easter! :)

  6. Hanne

    April 27th, 2011 at 1:32 am

    6

    Hello from Denmark!
    I found your wonderfull web-site searching for a paska recipe! Thank you for bringing recipes and telling about ukranian easter-traditions! I have a daughter in law from Ukraine.
    Next year I will make her paska for Easter!

  7. Suburban Grandma

    April 27th, 2011 at 7:03 am

    7

    Thank you so much.
    Yes, I am very lucky to have such a rich Easter tradition, and able to teach my family all about it as well to pass it on to future generations. I had a wonderful Easter, thank you.

  8. Suburban Grandma

    April 27th, 2011 at 7:06 am

    8

    Welcome to Suburbangrandma! I am so glad you stumbled upon my website, and found it interesting, thank you very much.
    You are such a nice mother-in-law to plan on making paska, to make your Ukrainian daughter-in-law feel more at home. So sweet of you, and I am sure she will appreciate it. If she has any special recipes she wants to share, I would be more than happy to try and post. Thank you.

  9. LWE

    April 7th, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    9

    Thank you for your beautiful posts and photos! My grandfather was Ukrainian, and I am trying to keep these beautiful customs alive in our family. I very much appreciate your complete descriptions and photo– thank you so much for sharing.

  10. Suburban Grandma

    April 7th, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    10

    The pleasure is all mine.
    I am glad you found my blog interesting, and helpful.
    I applaud you for trying to keep the Ukrainians customs of your ancestors alive, and passing them on to future generations. Your Grandfather would have been very proud of you!
    Happy Easter! Khrystos Voskres- Voistynu Voskres!

  11. Suburban Grandma

    April 7th, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    11

    Thank you so much for enjoying my website. Please stop by anytime.
    I am so happy to hear that soooooo many people out there are making PASKA for Easter. I received numerous emails about their paska baking experience, and am so proud of everyone out there baking this special bread, and keeping up with a beautiful Easter tradition.
    Thank you for the tip on yet another idea for paska bakeware. I will look into it and pass it on as well.
    Happy Easter!!

  12. Hanna Szach

    April 16th, 2012 at 2:26 am

    12

    Hello Suburban Grandma,
    By chance I came across your website.I am married to a Ukrainian man
    for 42 yrs/His mother always kept the traditions going every year.
    Unfortunately she now has Dementia but for a treat this year I made Vereniki for the Good Friday Evening Meal(potato and fried onions ) They turned out delicious.I am now trying to get more recipes for the Religious celebrations,so you site has been a great help.
    Thankyou from Australia.

  13. Suburban Grandma

    April 16th, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    13

    I’m so happy that you found my site, and are enjoying the recipes. Let me know if you are searching for any particular recipe, not posted on my site yet, and I will try to help you out.
    You are a wonderful lady to continue the Ukrainian tradition, and bring joy to your mother-in-law, with your culinary creations. God Bless you! Thank you for the lovely comment.

  14. Al

    March 15th, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    14

    My Mother and sister used to make a horseradish and hardboild egg combination at breakfast, I think maybe with some vinager but not sure. Sadly both have gone to heaven and no one can recall how this was made. Any ideas?

  15. Suburban Grandma

    March 17th, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    15

    I am not sure what type of dish you are thinking of??
    Most people who like horseradish, eat it on top of their hard boiled eggs, sliced and placed on a piece of paska…open face sandwich like.
    I guess you can make a egg salad with horseradish, but I am sure you would need some mustard or mayo to hold it all together. I don’t think vinegar would be needed with this combination. Vinegar is needed for making the red beets salad for Easter, as well as horseradish.
    I wish I could help more, but that is all I can think of now.

  16. vickii Kostyrko

    March 30th, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    16

    I am preparing my basket today. It contains the traditional items you mentioned. However we also incorporated roasted veggies and fresh fruits as well as soy based sausage products since we are watching our health as we age. Any idea to improve the traditional basket with health wise choices would be appreciated!

  17. Suburban Grandma

    April 1st, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    17

    Traditional Ukrainian food items for Easter are kind of difficult to replace. However, I did hear of chicken Kobasa made in NYC….you can eat only egg whites, and discard the yolks. You can soak, or boil the ham, to cook out some of the salt. The red beets and horseradish are healthy for you. There is low fat cream cheese, and light butter. But, I figured if you eat the traditional foods as they are once a year, at Easter, and watch your diet for the rest of the year, you should be fine, unless these foods are creating issues for you from the get go.

  18. julie wenhlowskyj

    April 29th, 2013 at 1:21 am

    18

    For Grated Eggs; Horseradish Just grate eggs add a jar of Masterfoods Horseradish cream 4/6 eggs to 1 jar. Otherwise Grated Horseradish; mayonaise
    For grated beetroot I only use a few jars or Horseradish cream now!
    So simple; so delicious! Thank you for sharing smachnoho from Australia

  19. Suburban Grandma

    April 30th, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    19

    Thank you for sharing your easy eggs and beetroot recipe tips.
    Appreciate your time for stopping by my site and leaving a comment.
    Hope your Easter was wonderful.

  20. Angella

    May 4th, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    20

    Brilliant website ! Thank you for sharing your recipes. I am an Australian born Ukrainian / Italian and I’m really enjoying learning about heritage. Happy easter blessings to you and your families.

  21. Suburban Grandma

    May 5th, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    21

    I am extremely happy to hear that you are very interested in learning about your Ukrainian heritage, and that you stumbled upon my website.
    Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to read my posts and to leave a kind comment.
    Happy Easter!
    Khrystos Voskres – Voistynu Voskres
    Christ is Risen. Indeed He is Risen.

  22. HRHQueecat

    May 8th, 2013 at 8:19 am

    22

    memories !!! I live in Australia with both my parents having had Ukrainian Orthodox parents – these customs were fully celebrated when I was younger but not so much any more as only my Mum is alive & is very old

  23. Suburban Grandma

    May 8th, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    23

    I’m sorry to hear that you are not keeping up with these beautiful traditions. Does your church still practice the Easter Basket Blessing? Baking your own paska bread is not that difficult, and if you check out my recipe, it really is so easy and never fails. I feel very blessed that I still am able to continue this tradition with my family. My daughter and daughter-in-law learned to bake their own paska bread, and enjoy it.
    Maybe some day you will get the urge to give it a try.
    Thank you for reading my posts and leaving a comment.


RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URI

Leave a reply

CommentLuv badge