Monday, 1 April 2013

Happy Easter!

 
Christ is risen! Let's rejoice! 
Happy Easter everyone! Hope you are cosy at your homes, having a great family time, enjoying your chocolate eggs and bunnies and other Easter treats and looking forward to some warmer spring days :)



Time to sum up my Easter preparations. I planned Easter long ahead this year. Naturally, the Nordic Spring theme ruled. A sort of a follow up to the Nordic Christmas I had last year. First I set my mind on knitting a set of Nordic Eggs/ Balls (from Arne & Carlos book)
 


Done! Check!
In the meantine I made some Nordic style - jumper style stamped cards


Done, check!
On Easter Saturday I prepared this Easter basket for the blessing at church (Heather of Audrey Eclectic - especially for you, I thought you might find these photos interesting :))) ) We took it to a church in Wrexham where Easter baskets blessing are held each year. The church was an absolute choc-a-bloc! Just imagine! And that wonderful smell of foods in the basket displayed on the tables by the altar! 
I really missed celebrating this custom in the UK so it was my first time this year!


For those of you who do not know this Easter custom and on Easter days see families with children carrying a basket decorated with green branches of boxwood, ribbons and covered with a doily, here are a few words of explanation. Easter basket blessing (also called in Pl święconka - check the eng Wikipedia entry on this - click!) - this is an old early medieval Eastern European custom (supposedly with the pagan roots) in countries of Eastern Europe. Especially popular with the Polish people who love bringing those baskets to churches. Children are always taken to churches too - as it's fun - first decorating the eggs, then getting them blessed :)
On Saturday, the day before the proper Easter day, baskets are brought to churches (or sometimes if the weather is nice, the event takes place outside the church), displayed on provided tables and about 15 min service is conducted by a priest during which he blesses the types of foods, sprinkles them with the holy water and tells people what they symbolise.
A typical Pl Easter basket lined with a linen napkin or a doily usually contains: boiled eggs (shelled or not), pieces of sausages and cold meat, salt and pepper, bread, butter, grated horseradish, cottage cheese, pieces of baked cake as well as some decorations in a form of a lamb with a red flag (symbolizes God, The Lord, the winner of Death), decorated Easter eggs, branches of boxwood. Ribbons are often tied around the basket handles too. I love the churches smell on that day!
After the blessing, people take their baskets home and from then on they can start Easter feasting (often called the Easter Sunday breakfast) that is commenced by sharing the samples of the blessed foods between the members of a family. Easter wishes are exchanged then and everybody sits down at a table and eats, eats, eats.... :) Well, that's Easter Day no. 1 for you.

What do we do on the 2nd day of Easter- Monday? Apart from the church going and feasting throughout the 2nd day, we pour buckets of water on each other - yes, we really do! (Well, I spared myself this custom this year) The wetter, the better, they say. Seriously, this is a real folksy custom that came from a Pl countryside into towns - boys chase (unmarried) girls with buckets full of water and pour it on them. The more attractive and popular girl is, the more soaking she will be. In the past girls would also chase the boys and beat their bare legs with willow branches but this custom seems to be fading away slowly. Today mostly young people stick to this pouring water tradition and it works best when it's warm and sunny. The oldies tend to be rather elusive on this day :))). There's also a "posh" version of Śmigus-Dyngus (the pl name for this custom, for more info check the eng wiki click!) the older people would prefer to be sprinkled with a few drops of perfume and you would creep up behind your granny and grandad's back, lash them with some perfumes announcing loudly: Śmigus-Dyngus! and you ran away :) I used to do this joke to my grandparents when I was a kid :) Oh! By the way, this custom is performed only till 12.oo o'clock on Wet Monday. Dunno why but perhaps to give everybody a chance to dry up! :)

There can be even more said about the rich Easter traditions in Pl and other Eastern European countries and if you are interested in findning out more - refer to wikipedia and check on these topics:  Egg decorating in Slavic countries, pysanka, Polish pisanka, Polish Easter customs, Easter customs around the world.

Apart from preparing some of the traditional Easter foods, I also did some baking and biscuit decorating :)
Some Scandinavian heart shortbreads decorated with Easter colours...


 ... and Easter bunnies - and since the weather is cold at Easter this year - they are wearing their own Norwegian jumpers :)))


A cross cultural accent too -  a little mini bara brith also ended up in my Easter basket too! I have a tiny mini loaf tin and I thought it would make a perfect cake sample for my basket :)
It may look huge in the photo but in real it's not bigger than your palm.


All things nice and lovely but life is life and unfortunately the Easter Sunday morning wasn't very lucky for me - stepping backwards to make a way for my bf I miscounted the steps and fell down the stairs at home, bashed my ribs against the doorframe, got bruised and seriously strained my left knee joint :( Blessing in disguise: no limb broken - thank God! but my leg is very stiff and the joint is tense and its ligaments (tendons?) whatever is there - awfully sore. Each movement causes me pain. I'm hoping this week of break will let me recover a bit before I'm back to work. I'm trying to focus on the more positive things at the moment.

With all these Easter makes I'm joining tonight a great blog hop Hand-made Monday and I'm looking forward to a trip round some crafty blogs.
Also a great Easter Parade is taking place at Heather's blog - do join in and show off your Easter makes :)

35 comments:

  1. Ooo sounds painful. I truly hope that you recover very quickly. I have not heard of this tradition before and shall certainly by trying to revive it in our village for next year. Thank you :)

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    1. Hi :)
      is / was there such tradition on your village? I'd love to hear more about it!

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  2. What a lovely tradition. I think your bunnies look cute!
    I hope you feel lots better soon.

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  3. Martha, I loved learning more about the Easter basket blessings. I am Episcopalian but no such traditions have ever been mentioned where I attend. It is a lovely entry into the Easter celebration. Your Easter themed Scandi hearts are just the best. What a great idea to go along with those beautiful knitted eggs! So sorry to hear of your fall and I do hope a week of rest will have you feeling much better. Happy Easter Monday from Florida!

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    1. Thank you for coming and leaving a comment Winnie. I enjoy reading your little notes you leave :)
      As you can see, my tradtions are a bit cross cultural :) I love Scandi theme so much that I couldn't resist knitting those eggs or baking those cookies :)
      I bet the weather in Florida is much better than here. Envious :)

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  4. Oh wow! You have made so many lovely things to celebrate Easter! Its so fun to really get into the spirit of these celebrations isn't it. I love your pretty Scandinavian shortbread and of course your wonderful knitted eggs and beautiful cards too!

    The tradition of taking the food basket to church for blessing sounds like so much fun! I expect the water soaking is great fun for the younger members of the family too :)

    I'm sorry to hear about you knee :( Like you say though, at least it wasn't a worse injury... i hope you're feeling lots better soon! x

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    1. thank you :)If I dig and explore something, I always dig deep :) hence such thorough preparations :)
      I love basket blessing custom - it's so nice and well worth preserving it :)

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  5. Martha--
    Thanks so much for joining the Easter Parade! I love your post, it is so fun and so full of tradition! I love your pretty Easter Basket, how special that you were able to get it blessed and revive that custom for yourself in the UK. The whole dumping of water though...I bet the girls dread an early and cold Easter! Wow!
    Such a great post, thanks so much for sharing!

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    1. thanks for stopping by :)I'm glad I could deliver a post full of interesting information. Very happy to blog about it and Easter is such a perfect opportunity.

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  6. What a lovely and interesting post, I really enjoyed reading it. You look like you have been very busy preparing for easter. Love the heart shortbreads especially. Hope the bruises heal soon, they sound painful!

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    1. thank you. happy to deliver an entertaining post :)

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  7. Visiting you from Audrey Eclectic's Easter Parade! What a beautiful post! LOVE your knitted Easter Eggs and those cookies are way too pretty to eat! What a great decorator you are! :) I loved reading about your Easter traditions! Thanks for the post and hope you had a lovely Easter!

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    1. Hello and thank you for stopping by :)
      well, the eggs cant be eaten but the heart cookies are actually disappearing quite quickly :) I'll surely be making more of them at the time of some other holidays - Christmas for sure! Glad you enjoyed the post.

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  8. Dear Martha, thanks for your comment!
    The eggs look all that great and I like the story about the Easter Custom! Your cards are very lovely!
    You were so busy!

    Have a nice evening!

    Kerstin

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    1. thanks for popping by Kerstin :) x x

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  9. Hi Martha, I loved this Easter post! My church too has Easter baskets and they are always so much fun to put together. The heart shaped shortbread cookies turned out great - and they look so yummy, too!

    I do hope that you can recover soon from your fall. Take it easy so that you can heal. Have a blessed week!

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    1. Thanks! I'm glad to hear that!
      As for the cookies, I'm so happy I managed to get hold of this cookie cutter - it's dead nice :)my mum is going to love it!

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  10. Truly He Is Risen, Martha!
    I'm just in love with your post and all the lovely traditions you have (many that are so close to mine)! Your handmade cards are especially beautiful and I love the knitted eggs - but my favorite thing has to be your adorably decorated heart cookies!!!! So Scandinavian! The basket is lovely too - sad I have to wait until May to put mine together. I had no idea they have the tradition of pouring buckets of water on people in Poland on Easter Monday - I just did a post today on "The Good Master" (a story about a Hungarian farm family) and they do it there too!!

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    1. Thank you for your kind comment! I'm glad to hear lots of people enjoyed reading this blog note. I'd love to know what your Easter traditions are. Please don't hesitate to share them, also here :)
      Sounds like playing with water at Easter time originates from some old countryside tradition that is shared by more than one country. Would love to find out more about it too!

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  11. Hi Martha,
    thank you so much for visiting my Blog and your kind comment!
    Your Blog is wonderful , and I love your knitted Eastereggs! They look great!
    The Easter cards I made are machine stiched, yes.
    If you write me an email, I can tell you, where to get nice patterns ;O)
    Have a happy week,
    Hugs
    Claudia

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    1. Hi Claudia!

      Thanks for visiting back my blog also becoming a new follower! :)I'll surely be emailing you soon and will be revisiting again! Your blog is nice too - saw the stuff you make and it looks great!

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  12. Hi Martha,
    I really like your knitting, you new eggs look so good, and you have already made so many of them. What kind of yarn do you use? Mine are made from cotton, but I think yours look prettier than mine.
    KATRIN W.

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    1. Hi Katrin. thank you for your comment :)
      in reply to your question: for the white Scandinavian eggs I use Lerke of Dalegarn, which is about 50% cotton and 50% merino wool (not so much different from your yarn!)and for some other Easter eggs and balls I use Heilo / Falk of Dalegarn, just as recommended by the authors :)

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  13. Oh my goodness, I love everything in this post! Hi from Kansas USA! Your eggs, your cookies... WOW! And thanks for explaining these old traditions. They're new to me and so interesting.

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    1. Thank you! I'm so glad to read so!
      Looks like I've embarked on a cross cultural crusade! :)
      Thanks for visiting!

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  14. Poor you, hope you feel easier soon x The Easter customs sounds lovely - some of the foods in your basket are also eaten at Passover - I went to a feast at our church a couple of years ago and remember the boiled eggs and horseradish especially :-)

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    1. Hi Bev. Thanks for commenting. Yes, sounds like you came across the same Easter customs I practise. Dont they smell nice? :)

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  15. Oh my goodness, Martha! Everything you made is so beautiful. I particularly love the knit eggs. Everything was going so nicely until the fall. Ouch! I hope you get feeling better soon. A wonderful Easter post.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words! Pleasure to have you here.
      Looks like the knitted eggs are the favourite with most of the people :)
      Quite a lots of time and effort went into them so I did hope they will turn out nice :)

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  16. Look at all this beauty!! Those knitted eggs are AMAZING. And the cookies! Lovely! So sorry about your injury ~ feel better soon :)

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    1. Thank you and welcome to my blog :)Glad you like the eggs and cookies - :) they are undoubtedly the most attractive part of my Easter decoration :)

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  17. Truly He is Risen! ♥ We are Russian Orthodox and so will celebrate Christ's Resurrection on May 5th. Next year, the western and eastern Christians celebrate on the SAME day (April 20, 2014), which is nice! I ADORE your knit eggs!!!

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    1. this is great when there will be one common Easter celebration for everyone in the world - I didnt knot what, thanks for sharing this Martha! :)

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  18. Ouch! You poor thing - I hope you recover soon! It was lovely to see and hear about your traditions - I find it so wonderful to hear how differently people celebrate the same events. Have a lovely & restful week! Simmi x

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