Modified Traditions

EasterEggs5

Dying eggs always landed on Holy Saturday in my household since there was always too much else going on to get it done earlier in the week preceding Easter. My maternal grandmother used to save onion skins for several months to cook for dye for her eggs. I did that one year when we were still in California. In those days I also used parsley or celery leaves held against the egg shells by a nylon stocking which then left a frilly white leaf pattern on the pastel colored eggs.

My mother always made beet horseradish and my sister still makes it today, using the white horseradish root to grate along with beets and the product is an excellent condiment with the ham and kielbasa and an egg round called cirek which is made with a dozen eggs – my sister still makes that too and it has the consistency of scrambled eggs. The churches in the Cleveland area all do a blessing of the baskets on Holy Saturday. My mother, her mother, and my sister all followed the tradition of putting something of each food item to be eaten on Easter Sunday morning, even the salt, into the basket and covering the basket with a lovely embroidered cloth and taking it to church for the blessing. There are not many Slavic people up in the community where my sister and her family have settled in the Pacific Northwest, so that tradition does not exist up there.  Instead she asked the priest to bless the basket after Mass, and gave him his own little basket with some of the food in gratitude.

Now I do not bother to color eggs anymore since there is no one here to appreciate the effort. I don’t know that my children appreciated it, but I did try to include that ritual in our Easters. My cousin Maryann makes beet horseradish, though she does not grate the horseradish herself, it is still very tasty and so although modified, the tradition goes on. She always gives me some to take home and I do enjoy it for as long as it lasts.

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