- Holidays and Celebrations
Ukrainian Easter Eggs
The practice of using wax resist to paint designs on Easter eggs has been followed for centuries in Ukraine, but also by these other ethnic groups: Belarusians, Bulgarians, Croats, Czechs, Hungarians, Lithuanians, Poles, Romanians, Serbs, Slovaks, Slovenes, and Sorbs. Perhaps they appeal to me in part because I am part Sorbian! I never thought about that, just that they always appealed to me, though I cannot recall ever seeing anyone in my family make these gorgeous eggs. Surely, they rival Tiffany eggs, eh?
Because the designs are centuries old folk designs, they are all in the public domain. Anyone can paint eggs with these designs. These designs are painted by a batik method of wax resist, on hard boiled eggs, eggshells, and wooden eggs.
The photo is the largest Pysanka in the world. You can see its size by observing the people standing at the base. It was erected to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Vegreville, Alberta, Canada in 1974.
Pysanky are made by tracing patterns in a handwriting fashion on a clean egg (chosen because the shape is perfect, and preferably from a young hen, and it must be fertilized). Dyes are made from dried plants, a given color from a particular part of the plant, with all parts represented by the colors. Red comes from the cochneal insect, a very tiny bug that makes fuzzy looking white stuff on the side of an infested prickly pear pad. When crushed, it produces an amazing red dye.
The stylus is dipped in melted bees wax, and the parts of the egg that are supposed to remain without color (or additional color) are covered by wax, and then the egg is dipped in the dye. The process is repeated for each color until all the colors have been added. It starts with the lightest colors (yellow on down) and ends with the darkest.
The image is shared under the Creative Commons 3.0 Share Alike license by Luba Petrusha.
More Traditional Pysanky
The creator of these eggs is obviously highly talented. My thanks to her for sharing these wonderful images!
Licensed under the Creative Commons 2.5 Share Alike license by Luba Petrusha.
The Real Meaning of Easter
Khristos Voskres! XPICTOC BOCKPEC!
This is a transliteration of "Christ has risen!" from the Russian. Other Slavic languages have a similar phrase. Ukrainian says the same exact expression. The answer is, He is risen indeed! The phrase in Cyrillic is the best attempt at making the same phrase with the Roman alphabet.
I have seen a Pysanka with this phrase on it.
Easter was apparently originally a celebration of spring. It is a time when new plants and flowers grow. Many people worshiped gods of fertility. Christians would often "redeem" a celebration by giving it Christian meaning. That's what happened with Easter, and it is the reason why nowadays, Christian symbols are among the decorations used on Pysanky.
The Apostle Paul indicated that the Resurrection of Jesus is the most important doctrine in the Christian faith. When he stood on trial before King Agrippa, Paul mentioned the Resurrection as proof that Christ is real, and Agrippa, who KNEW about the Resurrection, said, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian!" At the time, since over 500 people had seen Jesus in His glorified body after the Resurrection, most people knew He had risen. All the rationalizations about how He only swooned, or the body was stolen, hadn't been developed yet. Even the Jewish historian Josephus, who was antagonistic to Christianity, knew about the widespread knowledge of the Resurrection. While not admitting it himself, he noted that many people accepted it.
Whole books trying to debunk the Crucifixion and Resurrection have been written. The Swoon Theory is common. Jesus wasn't killed, He only swooned, and while in the cool tomb, He awoke and moved the stone and got out. Yes, that heavy stone that took a group of people to move into place in the first place. Another theory was that the body was stolen. Yes, the disciples came, moved that heavy stone, and stole the body right out from under the Roman guards, who would be executed if they allowed the body to be taken. The guards all ran away when Jesus rose.
The reason the Resurrection is so important is because it is our hope. Because Jesus died for us and took our punishment, He will raise us and take us to heaven. We have the proof He really will do this.
The reason for the scheduling of the observance of the events of Jesus' life is the Church Year. The Church Year was designed to make sure that Christians consider every important event in Jesus' life over the period of a year. This is why Christmas is scheduled in winter instead of spring (which Jesus was most likely born). The Christians did redeem more than one pagan holiday. Contrary to the belief of some people, observing the Church Year wasn't a return to paganism. The Church Year was actually based on a practice of the Jews, who had scheduled Torah readings in the Old Testament. The practice was started by God's command.
Christ is Risen! Hallelujah!
When I fell in love with this folk art, I decided to make some pysanky of my own. I don't have the skills to do it in the traditional manner, and that isn't the idea that struck me. Instead, I wanted to make pysanky with fractal designs. This involves mapping a fractal image onto an egg. The program that allows me to do this is Ultrafractal, which has a mapping algorithm for egg shapes.
I offer you a few of my designs for your enjoyment.
Photo GalleryClick thumbnail to view full-size
In the Beginning God - created the heavens and the earth
This egg was specifically designed with the symbolism of first beginnings of the universe in mind.
It seemed particularly appropriate because so many of the design patterns in nature are fractals.