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Catholic Activity: Blessing of the Easter Foods

In Slavic countries the blessing of Easter foods was an important tradition. This blessing is still found in the updated Roman Ritual, and is a wonderful practice. Many parishes still participate in this custom of the blessing of the Easter food or baskets.

DIRECTIONS

In some places the blessing of special Easter food takes place on Holy Saturday. Among the Slovaks a basket containing lamb meat (which of course signifies Jesus, the Lamb of God), boiled eggs, dyed and plain, Pascha (a special Easter bread), and other foods, is taken to the church in the afternoon where the priest blesses it, using the prayer [Editor's Note: This is an older version of the blessing. The current blessing can be found in the Book of Blessings]:

Bless, O Lord, this creation that it may be a means of salvation to the human race, And grant that, by the invocation of Thy Holy Name, it may promote health of body, and salvation of soul in those who partake of it, through Christ our Lord.

The food is then taken home and eaten for breakfast on Easter Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.

Among the Polish people the same custom is practiced, but the main foods blessed are an egg which is broken and shared by all on Easter Sunday morning, and a lamb moulded of butter or pastry. This butter-lamb and blessed Easter egg have a place of honor on the festive Easter table.

In Rome on Holy Saturday there is an old custom which is still in practice. A fresh table cloth is spread on the table in the dining room and on it are laid out the Easter meal, including the uncooked Easter Lamb which is decorated with flowers, eggs, wine, fruit, and a large traditional cake called "pizza". These are sprinkled with holy water, and are given a special blessing by the priest.

Activity Source: How to Make Your House a Home by Rev. Bernard Stokes, O.F.M., Family Life Bureau, Washington D.C., 1955

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