Every year throughout the world, different cultures carryout out various Easter food traditions to help in celebrating the resurrection of our Lord. Each custom or tradition symbolizes some form of the joy of Easter Sunday. For example, the three braids of the tsoureki symbolize the Trinity.
What are some of your family’s Easter food traditions?
The Butter Lamb is a tradition for many Russian, Slovenian and Polish Catholics. Butter is shaped into a lamb either by hand or in a lamb-shaped mold. Decorations are added for the eyes, mouth, and sometimes a ribbon around the neck.
Colomba di Pasqua is a sweet Italian yeast bread shaped like a dove. This Easter tradition, representing peace and resurrection, can take over 30 hours to complete, due to the necessity of resting overnight and waiting for the dough to rise two times! It is traditionally baked in a dove-shaped paper mold and topped with sugar and almonds.
Folar is a traditional Portuguese bread served at Easter. It is customary to offer folar to godfathers and priests at Easter as representation of the bread shared at the Last Supper. Folar may be either sweet or savory. Sweet Folar has several layers with melted sugar and cinnamon between each, while salty Folar is stuffed with various types of pork.
The Hot Cross Bun is a traditional sweet bun originally from the United Kingdom. It is a simple bun containing raisins or currants and topped with a frosting cross. Due to the symbolism of the cross and the different spices baked into the buns, eating hot cross buns marks the end of Lent and the beginning of the Easter Season.
Koulaourakia are a traditional Greek butter cookie, typically made around Easter, and eaten after Holy Saturday. These crunchy pastries have a buttery vanilla flavor and topped with sesame seeds. The name hints at the traditional ring shape, but twists, wreaths, braids, and simple drop cookies are also common.
Ma’amouls, small shortbread pastries filled with dates, pistachios and other fillings, are originally from Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. They come in a variety of shapes including rings meant to symbolize the crown of Christ. Arab Christians eat them in the days before lent, on Easter Sunday and on the feast of Epiphany.
Święconka, meaning “the blessing of the Easter baskets” is a Polish Easter tradition. Baskets containing food for the Easter feast are brought to church on Holy Saturday and are blessed by the priest. Various foods, each with a symbolic meaning, are blessed in this manner. Some of the foods are: eggs, symbolizing life and the resurrection; bread, for the Body of Christ; Lamb, for the Lamb of God; and salt, representing purification.
Tsoureki, is typically a sweet yeast bread made of eggs, milk, and butter, though there are savory variations. It is a staple of Greek Easter celebrations. Dough is braided into three strands to symbolize the Holy Trinity. Nestled in the braid is a red-dyed hard-boiled egg, representing the blood of Christ shed on the cross for us.