Easter is one of my favorite holidays, because of its rich traditions. One of these is the blessing of a basket of special foods which becomes the Easter Sunday brunch, being the first meat meal, after a strict fast on Good Friday and Saturday. One of the special foods in that basket is a round shaped Easter Bread, called Paska in Ukrainian, or Babka in Polish. The top of this bread is elaborately decorated with fancy dough ornaments, having a cross as the central motif. Here is my family Paska recipe, which makes two large loaves, or several small ones.
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.
It seems like Easter is still several weeks away, hence lots of time for Paska baking, but not according to my “social” calendar.
Those of you who bake with yeast, know that this process is time consuming, so you can’t just plan to bake Paska in the evening after work, like you would cake or cookies. You need several hours of tending to this bread making project, which means….weekend time.
Most Catholics already celebrated Easter this year on March 27th.
However Orthodox Christians, and some Catholics whose churches still follow the Julian Calendar, will celebrate Easter this Sunday, May 1st.
This weekend was Paska Baking time for me and my daughter, as well as my 4 year old granddaughter, who not only loves to watch, she also was a very enthusiastic helper.