Allen Shibu, Keighley
All throughout England, many polish, Slovakian and Ukrainian communities congregated to celebrate one of the most enduring and beloved European traditions on Saturday. The Święconka ceremony, which dates back to the 7th century has always been observed since early medieval times and the Polish People take special pride in preparing a decorative basket full of tasteful and exotic foods, mainly cuisine originating from the individual countries that celebrate this particularly
jubilant ritual. These baskets can contain many different foods that can symbolise many aspects of the catholic faith. food can include eggs, which is used to symbolise life and Christ’s resurrection; bread, which is used is symbolic to the Body of Jesus; the lamb which represents Christ; salt which normally represents purification; horseradish, which symbolic of the bitter sacrifice of Christ, and also ham, which symbolic of great joy and abundance.
The Blessing of the Food is a very festive occasion, even though much of it is a little time-consuming. In the service, the three-part blessing prayers specifically address the various contents of the baskets, with different special prayers for the meats, eggs, cakes and breads. The priest or deacon then sprinkles the individual baskets with holy water.
In St. Annes, Keighley, this euphoric tradition was no less enjoyable. Even the fact that the Parish Priest, Canon Michael McCreadie, is not fluent in Polish, Slovakian or Ukrainian did not inhibit any part of the service. A great number of people arrived with basketfuls of food. With assistance by a translator, Dorota Plata, The liturgy began at Eleven thirty in the morning, and lasted for one hour, finishing at twelve thirty and with assistance by the translator and organiser of the service, Dorota Plata, the priest blessed the food baskets and sprinkled them with holy water. In addition, many regular traditions, such as kissing the foot of the cross was also seen as well.
Overall, St. Annes church, Keighley, strives to unite all different cultures and communities towards God under one roof and this exultant celebration is an example of this.