Identity Basket Cases

With every passing year, Warsaw and the rest of the country feel more like another western European nation. Should you lump Poland in the Eastern Europe bag, Poles (sometimes with high emotions) would tweak with your cartographic bearings to place a Central Europe, to which Poland belongs, in your orientation. I googled for an old and humourous Economist article about how sensitive European nations are to directional placements. Can’t find it but chanced on the funny Redrawing The Map instead.

Sorry, I’ve digressed. What I am on to is with europeanisation, life is getting more generic, like the neighbour’s further west. However, on festive days, you’re pleasantly reminded of the national identities. And that sensation I savoured on Easter Saturday when we took the food basket to church for blessing.

Hunting for chocolate eggs is a topic for small talk here. That’s what they do in the US/UK, parents explain to their kids about life elsewhere. In PL, Easter is steep in cultural and religious rites. I particularly like the Saturday routine. From morning, you see families or older children on their own with small, prettily decorated wicket baskets either on their way to or from church.

Churches set out a long table where the baskets are put for mass blessing. Mine is usually a case of rushed affair with only token bread, butter, salt, a cut of ham and an egg, if I remembered to hard boil one. A basket fit for a pauper. Other carriers tend to be assembled with pride and joy. In previous years, I went to a nearby church. This year, we went with our neighbour to their preferred church near the Old Town. Though it was near zero in Celsius, there was a warm atmosphere around the blessing table.


About kitfchung

Experienced food and travel journalist based in Warsaw, Poland.
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