Thursday, March 22, 2012
Easter Customs & A Polish Heart by Stephanie Burkhart
My story, A Polish Heart, takes place in Poland. When Rebecca J. Vickery put out a call for stories for the 2011 Spring/Easter Anthology, I drew inspiration from my own Easter traditions which had strong Polish roots.
Growing up Polish in rural New Hampshire, I didn't appreciate the customs and traditions I was exposed to as much as I do now. Easter was always fun. There was always Easter mass at my grandmother's church and the church was filled with lilies. I called my grandmother "Bopie" short for the Polish word for grandmother, "Bopshie." She had prepared a feast. There were pierogi, stuffed cabbage, lamb, ham, eggs (lots of eggs!!) and fresh homemade baked bread. After we stuffed ourselves, we always went "up the hill" to visit the twins, Johnny and Stanley who always played polkas. It was so much fun, the laughing, the singing, and the dancing.
Easter was about family. It was about celebrating the risen Lord with family. My Bopie took great pride in making and cooking most of the Easter meal.
I wanted to write a story for the anthology, so I drew on these memories and began researching what Easter was like in Poland. I discovered there were some customs unique to Poland which I wove into the fabric of the story.
The first one was the Easter basket. The basket was filled with food that the Priest would bless on Holy Saturday. Items included eggs, bread, cakes, salt, sausages, ham, and lamb. Each item had a meaning. Lamb, for example represented Christ. Eggs symbolized life and Christ's resurrection. The family would take the basket to their church to be blessed. Then the food would be used to prepare the Easter meals on Sunday.
Another custom was to gather pussy willow and put them in the basket to be blessed. The pussy willow would be passed out during Easter breakfast and everyone at the table would make a wish on their pussy willow. In some places it might symbolize good luck.
On the Monday after Easter boys around the neighborhood would sprinkle water on the girls. One theory of this custom is pagan as the water is seen as a spring symbol of cleansing and purification. The following Tuesday the girls get even. Another theory is that the action represents the sacrament of baptism after Christ is risen.
In "A Polish Heart," Sofia takes Darrin shopping for her family's Easter basket. Sofia's family and their heartwarming traditions resonate deeply with Darrin. Will he go back to America or decide to stay in Poland.
Can Sofia's faith give Darrin his heart back?
5 Stars, Joy Cagil, Amazon Reader
A satisfying ending.
5 Stars, Vikki McCombie, Amazon Reader
This is an excellent read.
5 Stars, Maggie Toussaint, Amazon Reader
A refreshing sweet romance.
5 Stars, Tara Manderino, Amazon Reader
A totally enjoyable read.
YOU TUBE VIDEO:
A Polish Heart is available through Amazon Prime at:
BUY LINK: http://amzn.com/B007AS29AO
Question: What's your Easter like? Are there any traditions or customs you'd like to share with us?
Author Bio: Wanting a great adventure, Stephanie Burkhart joined the US Army when she was 18 and spent 7 years overseas in Germany. She's visited several European countries, including a visit to Poland in 1997. Nowadays she works as a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. She writes paranoramal, steampunk, contemporary and fantasy romance. She's published with Desert Breeze and Victory Tales Press. Her children's stories are published with 4RV Publishing.