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Blessing of baskets

Parishioners of St. John Fisher Catholic Church gathered March 30 for the annual blessing of Easter baskets at the church, 1239 Third St., North Catasauqua.

The Holy Saturday tradition dates back centuries.

The blessing of Easter baskets is a practice found across Eastern Europe in Catholic and Orthodox churches. The tradition can be dated back to the 12th century and is commonly known as swieconka. Over time, the tradition traveled, as ideas and families began to migrate out across the seas.

Families fill Easter baskets with symbolic foods, such as hard-boiled eggs, meats and salt. The eggs represent the resurrection of Christ. The meat is a symbolism of abundance. Salt is a reminder of prosperity and humanity. Other symbolic items include cheese, representing the moderation Christians should maintain, and bread as a symbol of Jesus, the bread of life.

Chalka, a Polish egg-twist bread, is a popular addition. These breads are shared during Easter dinner and are used as a vehicle for other blessed items found in the baskets, such as wikla, or Polish horseradish sauce, a symbolism for wisdom.

In North Catasauqua, resident Joe Keglovits’ family continues this tradition, thanks to his grandmother. An important item found in their family basket is paska, a traditional Easter bread found in the Slovak heritage.

Every item in the basket is placed with intention and passion. The symbolism behind each item serves as reminders of the story of Easter.

St. John Fisher Catholic Church offers blessings of Easter baskets every year on Holy Saturday.

Regular Sunday masses are held 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. and a vigil starting 4 p.m.

More information on the church’s events can be found at saintjohnfisherparish.com.

PRESS PHOTOS BY CASSANDRA DAYOUB The Gontkosky, Snyder and Burner families chat after having their Easter baskets blessed March 30 at St. John Fisher Catholic Church, 1239 Third St., North Catasauqua.
Bread and cheese are common symbolic items found in blessed baskets.
St. John Fisher Church holds the blessing annually on Holy Saturday.