I recently learned about Ukranian Easter eggs or pysanky. The eggs are made from a wax relief similar to batik. A pysanka is decorated using a wax-resist method. The word comes from the verb pysaty, “to write”, as the designs are not painted on, but written with beeswax. Pysanky are typically made to be given to family members and respected outsiders. To give a pysanka is to give a symbolic gift of life, which is why the egg must remain whole. Furthermore, each of the designs and colors on the pysanka is likely to have a deep, symbolic meaning. Traditionally, the designs are chosen to match the character of the person to whom the pysanka is to be given.
In many cultures around the world, the egg is a symbol of new life, fertility and rebirth. For Christians, the Easter egg is symbolic of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Painting Easter eggs is an especially beloved tradition in the Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches where the eggs died red to represent the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed on the cross. The hard shell of the egg represents the sealed Tomb of Christ, and cracking the shell represents Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.
This Easter when you are hiding Easter eggs or eating them for that matter, take a moment to remember the powerful meaning behind them. I think this Easter, I will give my children “the gift of life” and make an egg for each of them which matches their character. I hope you take time this holiday to find joy in the simple things.
Do any of you have any special ways to decorate eggs for Easter? Who will receive the “gift of life” from you?