Do you enjoy making Easter eggs? It can be a fun family project to die eggs and then hide them around the yard for an Easter egg hunt. The simple colors and designs of basic Easter eggs, though, can’t compare to the works of art that some people make!
The word “pysanky” comes from the verb pysaty, which means “to write.” This is quite appropriate, since the designs on these beautiful eggs are not painted on. Instead, they’re created with a unique written-wax method called batik.
But a pysanka is more than just any egg decorated using a written-wax method. Pysanky are eggs made in this way with specific, traditional Ukrainian folk designs.
Experts believe the art of pysanky started back in ancient times in Ukraine. Most early designs featured symbols related to the Ukrainian sun god. Over time, Christianity made its way to Ukraine, and gradually pysanky began to become associated with the Christian celebration of Easter.
The written-wax method of decorating pysanky involves using a pin or stylus to write designs onto an egg with wax. Eggs are then dyed a chosen color. Additional designs are written in wax and the steps are repeated with different colors of dye.
The wax seals the egg, so that the designs written in wax stay over the course of later applications of dye. When finished, the egg is heated and all the wax is wiped away, revealing a multilayer series of designs in different colors.
Ukrainian people still hold superstitious and magical beliefs about pysanky. Some believe they protect homes from evil spirits and disasters. Beliefs vary by region with Ukraine, but it’s clear that these beautiful works of art hold a special place in people’s hearts.