April 04, 2023

Thirsty Squirrels and Easter Breakfast

Dearest Friends, Well, it’s been a Wonderpurr week at my house, the place where I live. I hope yoo are feeling encouraged by the approach of Spring, even if it’s dwagging it’s foots in yoor part of the world. Please treat yoorself to a pwetty potted tulip to cheer up yoor room dรฉcor. No lilies cuz they are toxic to all who nom them, but yoo already know that.

At my house we went for weeks without any rain, so much so that my momma began to worry about Sassy Squirrel who lives in the tree behind our catio. I overheard her ask Daddy, “Are they getting enough water?” Daddy – who has been married long enough to know where Mom was going with this question – replied, “I’m sure Mother Nature is taking care of them just fine.”

“Mother Nature is a temperamental bee-atch,” Momma replied. “Look at the death and destruction from the tornadoes she sent to Mississippi and Arkansas.”

We lived in Mississippi on the Memphis border up until three years ago. Yoo don’t want to fool around with them tornados.

So Momma filled a small glass bowl with water and took a jar of unsalted peanuts to a tree behind our catio. She’s been filling the bowl every morning, as it empties overnight. The squirrels are that thirsty, and probably so are the other critters who live back there. Also, a bowl was placed on the outside of the catio door, and another bowl on the front porch and still another under the window of Rabbit’s ZenDen. Plus, Momma  bought a small birdfeeder and filled that with water. When Momma gets an idea in her head about caring for animals, she doesn’t do it slipshod or halfway.

As Easter approaches, I trust that yoo have not yet nommed every jellybean and chocolate bunny purchased to celebrate on Sunday. Momma bought a bag of jelly beans but because she is aware that any chocolate brought into the house before Saturday will be gone by dawn Sunday morning, she has restwained herself from buying anything incredibly tempting.

My Daddy grew up in a Polish Catholic household where it is the Polish Catholic custom to take a pretty basket, filled with everything needed for Easter breakfast, to church the Saturday before Easter, and have it blessed by the priest.

Since leaving Detroit many years ago Daddy has not been able to celebrate that tradition unless he drives back up to Michigan. But when my family moved to Northern Florida the local church had a Polish priest who did bless baskets on Saturday.

This past week Daddy shopped at a small Polish grocery store by the beach. He brought home Polish sausage, a butter lamb and cheese pierogis. Momma has a gold cloth and a white lace cloth used in past Easter baskets. Along with the food, they will add Pisanki - wooden eggs with designs. Traditional Pisanki were painted with melted wax and dipped into dyes during Lent. The word Pisac means "to write." 

Swieconka(sh-vee-en-soon-kah) is one of the most enduring and beloved Polish traditions. Baskets containing a sampling of Easter foods are brought to church to be blessed on Holy Saturday. The basket is traditionally lined with a white linen or lace napkin and decorated with sprigs of boxwood (bukszpan), the typical Easter evergreen. Poles take special pride in preparing a decorative and tasteful basket with crisp linens, occasionally embroidered for the occasion, and just enough boxwood and ribbon woven through the handle. Observing the beautiful foods and creations of other parishioners is one of the special joys of the event.

The priest then sprinkles the individual baskets with Holy Water. More traditional Polish churches uses a straw brush for dispersing the Water; others use the more modern metal Holy Water sprinkling wand. In some parishes, the baskets are lined up on long tables; in others, parishioners process to the front of the alter carrying their baskets, as if in a Communion line. Older generations of Polish migrants, descended from early 19th century immigrants, tend to bless whole meal quantities, often brought to church halls or cafeterias in large hampers & picnic baskets.

Below is what you will traditionally find in a Polish Easter breakfast basket:

Maslo (Butter) - This dairy product is often shaped into a lamb (Baranek Wielkanocny) or a cross. This reminds us of the good will of Christ that we should have towards all things.

Babka (Easter Bread) - A round or long loaf topped with a cross or a fish, symbolic of Jesus, who is the Bread of Life.

Chrzan (Horseradish) - Symbolic of the Passion of Christ still in our minds.

Jajka (Eggs) and Pisanki (decorated with symbols of Easter, of life, of prosperity) - Indicates new life and Christ's Resurrection from the tomb.

Kielbasa (Sausage) - A sausage product, symbolic of God's favor and generosity.

Szynka (Ham) - Symbolic of great joy and abundance. Some prefer lamb or veal. The lamb also reminds Christians that the Risen Christ is the "Lamb of God."

Slonina (Smoked Bacon) - A symbol of the overabundance of God's mercy and generosity.

Sol (Salt) - A necessary element in our physical life. Symbolic of prosperity and justice and to remind us that people are the flavor of the earth.

Ser (Cheese) - Symbolic of the moderation Christians should always have.

Candle - Represents Christ as the Light of the World.

Colorful Ribbons and Sprigs of Greenery - are attached to the basket as signs of joy and new life in the season of spring and in celebration of the Resurrection.

Linen Cover - drawn over the top of the basket which is ready for the priest's visit to the home or the trip to church where it is joined with the baskets of others to await the blessing. The food is then set aside and enjoyed on Easter Sunday.

I hope yoo have enjoyed me telling yoo about our family Easter tradition. I’d love for yoo to tell me about your tradition for Easter.

From my house to yoors, we wish yoo all a Wonderpurr Easter! Love, Dori

Until Next Time...


Lynn and Precious said...

Your dad had a very enriched young life. So glad he could relive the memories and have the church rite this time of his life again. the foods sound delicious. Lynn has 6 bird baths and a large water bucket fur the deer and then the hawks bathe in it. She keeps a few going all winter long even when she has to use a hammer to break them open and put in hot water over and over on bad days. The squirrels here pick up all the bird feed they can steal, mol. But we only chase them off the blue bird meal worms. the bluebies have 5 eggs already, in Easter blue, but they need the worms to feed themselves and the babies. Your mommy is doing the right thing with the water and food. Hope you get gentle rains. Precious

Gidget Blue Sky said...

kielbasa and cheese pierogis!! yum! with melted butter and onions!!! mums dad yoosed to make beautiful Pisanki easter eggs. Happy easter to you and your furrably dori!!!!

pilch92 said...

How kind of your mama to take care of the squirrels. My hubby and I are Polish Catholic and get our basket blessed every year too. I can remember the priest coming to my grandmother's house to bless the food when I was a kid. And we grind our own horseradish that we grow. :)

Adorapurr said...

Dear Precious and Momma Lynn, it warms my little heart to know yoo are seeing after the wildlife, especially in winter. We used to do that too when we lived where it snowed. Momma fed raccoons dog food, so of course the deer and opossum and even the birds showed up to enjoy. Today we saw a baby raccoon enjoying the water and the peanuts. *sighs* Momma loves her raccoons.

Adorapurr said...

Oh, I bet those homemade eggs were gorgeous. Happy Easter, Gidget!

Adorapurr said...

I love that yoo also share our family's tradition. Wesoล‚ego Alleluja!

Sandee said...

Glad you had a good week and now I'm hungry.

Have a purrfect day and week. ♥

Brian's Home Blog said...

Such a fun post sweet Dori. Our Dad's Grandparents were from Lithuania so he grew up with lots of similar foods, yum!

Kitties Blue said...

We remember about the blessing of these baskets from another post you did. Mom thinks it is a wonderful tradition. With Dad being Jewish and Mom being Catholic, they began calling Easter, Spring Holiday, years and years ago. They usually make baskets for each other but have called a moratorium for this year. Mom started Noom (Dad's been on it for two years) to try to lose some weight with the hope that her knees and back won't be so painful. Your mom is a good steward of the environment and its critters. Sending good wishes for a happy and joy-filled Easter, without too many shenanigans from @$$๐Ÿ‡! XOCK, angel Lily Olivia, angel Mauricio, Misty May, angel Giulietta, angel Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth, Calista Jo, Cooper Murphy, Sawyer, Kizmet, Audrey & Raleigh

meowmeowmans said...

Dori, we sure did learn a lot from your post today. We enjoying reading about the blessing of your basket with all those noms. And your mom is awesome putting out peanuts and water for the squirrels. We do that here when it gets super hot and drought-y, too. Happy Easter! XO

The Island Cats said...

Happy Easter to you and your family, Dori! We used to have a bird bath that the squirrels would use to get a drink from. Now we have the river but I've never seen any squirrels in it. ~Ernie

Memories of Eric and Flynn said...

That is a lovely tradition for the Easter baskets. We have a big bird bath and lots of smaller bowls. The birds and other animals don't really need them until summer because we have so much rain. Mr. Blackbird comes every day and has a good 10 minute bath and empties the water everywhere. Then he sits on the hedge where he knows I can see him and preens his feathers.

Adorapurr said...

Mr Blackbird probably appreciates having a clean bath every day. Momma has to clean the water bowls each morning because we get a raccoon who dirties the water. Happy Easter!

The J-Cats said...

What a lovely tradition your family has! Interestingly, some of the items mentioned also feature in the Pessach (Passover) tradition, at the Seder meal. For example, salt (in the form of salt water) represents the tears shed by the Hebrew slaves, horseradish is commonly used (at least in the Ashkenazi tradition) as the Bitter Herb at the Seder meal, representing the bitterness of slavery, hardboiled eggs represent rebirth and renewal while the burnt shell of the roast egg on the Seder plate represents the burnt offerings offered up in the Temple. We also have Haroset, a mixture of apples, ground almonds, cinnamon and wine whose brown colour is supposed to represent the mortar used by the Israelite slaves to build the cities Pithom and Ramsis (that's the Ashkenazi tradition - Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews use dates, walnuts and wine).

Momma Kat and Her Bear Cat said...

Not to be inappropriate (because it's truly a beautiful tradition) ... but not a can of Friskies in your parents' basket? Or did they share the noms with you all?

Adorapurr said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. We so enjoy learning about the traditions of other faiths.

Adorapurr said...

*gasp* I'm filing a complaint right now. This oversight will be corrected for next Easter. Thank yoo, Momma Kat. Love, Dori