Ukrainian Easter Pysanky

It’s the time of year for me to once again commandeer the kitchen table and spread out my pysanky decorating materials.  It’s a family tradition and all of us in our family enjoy decorating the pysanky.

Triangles on eggs symbolize trios such as air, fire and wind, and most recently the Holy Trinity.

Triangles on eggs symbolize trios such as air, fire and wind, and most recently the Holy Trinity.

I started decorating Easter eggs when I was only around two years old.  I remember looking forward to when Mom would get out the kistkas, the beeswax and the colourful dyes.  We would collect the freshest eggs from the henhouse and then give them a gentle vinegar wash.  Even if our lines were crooked and our colours smudged into one another, my brother, sister and I got to add our egg to the family Easter basket.

On Easter Sunday, the pysanky were blessed and exchanged with our extended family and friends.  We always gave one as a gift to our priest as well.

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The decorating supplies have changed over the years but the technique is still the same.  The supplies include raw, clean white eggs; a writing stylus (kistka); beeswax; pint jars containing various colours of dyes;  vinegar, candles, drying racks and varnish.

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Mom used to make the kistkas out of a branch from a willow tree and the little round metal hook from an old calendar.  She would roll the metal to form a funnel and then tie it to a small twig with a piece of fine wire from a grocery store twist tie.  Not only can I still remember how those twig kistas felt in my hands, but I can still remember the smell of the wood.  Today, kistkas are made of wood or plastic.

For a detailed explanation of the steps involved in decorating your own pysanka, please check out the Pages section called Pysanky at the top of my blog.  I have also included a slide show of various pysanky designs.

Pysanky designs

Unique Ukrainian Easter egg designs

When you have created your own Pysanka, please consider sharing your photos with me.

 

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One thought on “Ukrainian Easter Pysanky

  1. Your pysanky are so beautiful. I have always loved to try pysanka. My maternal and paternal side is Slovak. I was never introduced the craft of making them. Several years ago my children bought me a lathe and a few books on pysanky. I wanted to try my hand at making them but never could afford to buy the rest of the supplies.The colors and symbols are so beautiful and meaningful at the same time.I love my heritage and someday I will do this wonderful art form. Thank you so much for your post and generating that spark of hope in me again. Have a wonderful day.

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