Monday, February 29, 2016

My Memories of Holy Week in the ‘50’s.

There was a post on my Facebook page this morning titled “How My Polish Family Celebrates Easter” Brought back memories of our Holy Week and Easter  in the 50’s.

How My Polish Family Celebrates Easter.

My family didn’t have quite that elaborate Easter dinner talked about in the article but we sure did have a lot of the other traditions. Lent was a really big thing in my family, too. Lots of fasting and church going. And Holy Week was mostly spent in church or at least it seemed like to me as a kid.

There was the Holy Thursday Mass. at 8:00 a.m. It was a High Mass. You could tell when you entered church if it was a high Mass or a low Mass by the number of candles lit.
Low Mass -Mass parts are read, not chanted. No incense. Usually shorter because of no chanting.
High Mass -Various parts of the Mass are chanted and incense may be used. Usually longer.
Of course as kids, we preferred the Low Mass version. Today there is no real difference in time. So Mass on Holy Thursday morning. Then in the evening after supper, back to the church for an hour of Adoration. In my home parish, families signed up for an hour. Adoration went on till Good Friday afternoon services. This 24 hour adoration depicted the time that Jesus spent awaiting his death on the cross.

Good Friday services started at 1:00 and lasted till 3:00 the hour of Jesus’ death on the cross. I sang in the choir and had to stay for all of it. Of course, even if I didn’t sing in the choir, I would have been there for all of it.  My parents would not have had it any other way. I remember people coming and going some. I suppose they came when they could because of work etc. The part I hated the most was that starting about 2:00 people would line up and walk down the church aisle (in our church that was a LONG aisle) and when they got to about six pews or so away from the altar, they would get down on their knees and go the rest of the way in a sort of a crawl. At the foot of the altar propped on the floor, was a large crucifix. When you got there you kissed the wounds of Jesus. I can remember hating that because all I could think of was all of the germs. Mother taught us well in that respect, too. Same reason I don’t do wine now. Of course, not liking the taste does play a part in that, too.

Holy Saturday was a fun day. No Easter egg hunt for us. Instead we took baskets of food to be blessed for Easter Sunday. Our baskets usually had dyed eggs, ham, homemade polish sausage (my Uncle Walt made the best) homemade bread, salt and pepper, horseradish. Fasting didn’t end till Easter morning. So the smell of all that food in church for the blessing was almost overwhelming. It was wonderful. And I can tell you, nothing has ever tasted as good as that blessed food after Easter Mass on Easter Sunday.

Easter Sunday was always spent at Babcia’s (grandmother in Polish) house. All of my mother’s siblings would be there and all of my cousins. A house full and a small two bedroom house at that.

What a fun time it was.

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