In Poland, Święconka or "the blessing of the Easter baskets" is a central tradition on Holy Saturday. The tradition dates back to the 7th century in its earliest form. The basket is traditionally lined with a white linen or lace napkin and decorated with sprigs of boxwood (bukszpan), the typical Easter evergreen. Each of the foods which traditionally makes up the Easter basket has a deep and symbolic meaning:
Masło (butter) This favourite dairy product is often shaped into a lamb (Baranek Wielkanocny) or a cross. This reminds us of the goodness of Christ that we should have toward all things.
Babka (Easter bread) – A round loaf topped with a cross or a fish, symbolic of Jesus, who is our true Bread of Life.
Chrzan (horseradish often with grated red beets) – Symbolic of the Passion of Christ still in our minds but sweetened with some sugar because of the Resurrection.
Jajka (eggs) – Eggs were always considered as a symbol of the resurrection, the emergence of a new life. At Easter our Saviour came forth from the tomb as the chick after breaking the shell at birth. Because of this special meaning, it is fitting that Easter eggs be coloured or decorated (often with the symbols of Easter, of life, of prosperity). They are the favoured object of our national art and are known to us as “pisanki.”
Kiełbasa (sausage) – A spicy sausage of pork products, indicative of God’s favour and generosity.
Szynka (ham) – Symbolic of great joy and abundance. Some prefer lamb or veal. The lamb also reminds Catholics that the Risen Christ is the Lamb of God.
Sól (salt) – So necessary an element in our physical life, that Jesus used its symbolism: “You are the salt of the earth”