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  • Easter Baking Traditions

    by Judy Perin

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    Easter in Italy

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    Spring has arrived full of pastel colors and tulips and daffodils blooming. Colored Eggs, Bunnies Hopping, Easter Bonnets and Easter Parades, all signs that Easter is right around the corner. Time to also start thinking about baking Easter breads and sweets for your Easter breakfasts, brunches, and dinners.

    Primarily, Easter is known as a Christian holiday that celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. But did you know that the word Easter was taken from the goddess of spring, Eostre. Sacrifices were made to the Goddess Eostre, whose festival was celebrated in the spring around the time of the Passover.

    Over the years a wide variety of symbols have become associated with Easter. The fashionable Easter bonnet, the cuddly Easter Bunny, colorful and creative Easter eggs, the spectacular Easter parades, beautiful Easter lilys, the symbolic Paschal candle and the peaceful Paschal lamb are all symbols that have become associated with Easter.

    Christians in over 80 nations will be celebrating Easter. Every family and ethnic culture has various traditions, symbols and customs that lead up to the celebration of Easter. On Palm Sunday, baskets, flowers and crosses are woven from the palms to be blessed and then given to family and friends. Others prepare baskets to take to the church to be blessed by the priests on Holy Saturday. The baskets contains food, such as the colored eggs, meats, cheeses and the Easter Bread that is to be eaten at the Easter dinner.

    Easter is known as La Pasqua in Italy and is celebrated in many Italian homes with Easter breads and pastries. In some Italian homes a variety of egg omelets, called frittatas, along with an assortment of sausages and other meats, are served on Holy Saturday with Pane di Pasqua or Italian Easter bread. Pane di Pasqua is a braided bread with colored eggs nestled within the bread. Also served are breads shaped in the form of chicks or doves and dough babies, which are breads that are baked with a whole egg placed in their 'belly'. All of these foods are brought to church for the Easter Vigil to be blessed before being served to family and friends.

    The Polish Culture create a basket and call this tradition Swieconka or the Blessing of the Baskets. For the Swieconka, the baskets are lined with white linen and are filled with some of the following items: Butter shaped like a lamb called a Maslo, Horseradish or Chrzan, Kielbasa, Decorated Eggs or Pisanki, and Babka, a Polish Easter Bread.

    A variety of traditional Easter breads and baked goods are made and served in many different parts of the world. Here are just a few that you may like to try.

    Easter is the time to spend with family, whether it be attending Easter Services or having an Easter egg hunt, whether you use a new recipe for Easter or stick with a traditional family recipe, remember that Easter is a time of reflection and new beginnings.

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