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Marion Faller (1941-2014), 3 children holding 2 Swienconka baskets, c. 1987; chromogrnic color print, 16 x 20 inches; Gift of the artist

Marion Faller (1941-2014), 3 children holding 2 Swienconka baskets, c. 1987; chromogrnic color print, 16 x 20 inches; Gift of the artist

Introductory statement by Marion Faller:

These swienconka “Easter Baskets” were photographed in Buffalo, New York, at St. John Kanty Parish in 1987 and at St. Stanislaus Parish in 1988. I worked with folklorist Kate Koperski, who wrote the following text.

Polish immigrants brought the swienconka tradition, practiced by many of the Slavic peoples of Eastern Europe, with them to America at the turn of the century. The term “swienconka” refers to both the blessed Easter foods and the meal in which they are eaten. In Western New York, swienconka foods are blessed at Polish-American churches during the afternoon of Holy Saturday [the day before Easter].

The foods are beautifully arranged in wicker baskets for the trip to church. Though it varies a great deal from one family to another, the swienconka meal is built around the following group of foods which have symbolic significance: the butter lamb, Easter bread, colored eggs, and Polish sausage.