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.
Easter is such a beautiful holiday, but here in the US, it does not get even close to the vast recognition that Christmas is showered with.
My family and I feel very lucky to be familiar with, and able to practice the Ukrainian Easter traditions. Besides the 40 days of the Great Lent, and the different church services from Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday, there is the traditional Easter Basket Blessing,which takes place at the church on Holy Saturday, or right after the Sunrise Easter Sunday Liturgy, in other parishes.
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.
Most Catholic Christians already celebrated Easter this year on April 21st.
However Orthodox Christians, and some Catholics whose churches still follow the Julian Calendar, will celebrate Easter this Sunday, April 28th.
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.