Bishop Adam Balabuch on Polish Easter traditions
“The blessing of food has become a strong part of Polish tradition and it is an important element of experiencing Easter, but it cannot be lived instead of celebrating the Lord’s Resurrection through the Eucharist” – says bishop Adam Balabuch, Chairman of the Commission for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
Holy Saturday is a day of silence when the faithful visit in churches the Lord’s Graves. This is accompanied by the blessing of food, which is an old custom adopted in Poland at the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries. Easter basket contains foods symbolizing a new life and resurrection, stressing that just as nature awakens after winter to life, Jesus will also come back to life after the Passion and death on the cross.
On Holy Saturday, despite there is no abstinence from meat, many Poles maintain the custom of fasting until the Lord’s Resurrection, when the festive meal is the Easter breakfast. Then at the table appears Easter basket, from which the food is eaten first and blessed eggs are shared with the family. “Canonical law does not mention fasting on Holy Saturday, but it is a beautiful tradition that is worth cultivating. On this day, we can give something more from ourselves, guided not only by law, but by a healthy tradition and devotion, which encourages us to observe abstinence from meat on Holy Saturday” – emphasizes bishop Balabuch.
The silence of Holy Saturday is interrupted by the evening bells while singing “Glory to God” during the Easter Vigil. They announce the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which took place at night. “The Easter Vigil is already the Mass of the Resurrection. Whoever participates in it, fulfills the obligation to participate in the Mass of the Resurrection. However, I encourage you, if you have a wish, to attend the Mass of the Resurrection with the procession” – notes bishop Balabuch.
Press Office of the Polish Bishops’ Conference