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!

Pysanky refers to the art of making Ukrainian Easter eggs. Pysanky is the plural form. A single Ukrainian Easter egg is a pysanka.

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.

 

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  1. Dear Wonderopolis,

    I loved today’s wonder! Sorry that I didn’t leave a comment for a while. I was too busy in the past week.

    I had to go to school and do other important things during the last weekends.

    Remember back on wonder of the day #539 – Why do dogs chase their tails? I thought wonder of the day #540 was that why does time go by fast and I was wrong. Wonder of the day #540 was not that why does time go by fast. Wonder of the day #540 was How do you get the lead out?

    • Hi, TJ! Thanks for sharing your GREAT comment with us today! We think you were REALLY close when you guessed about time going by fast, because “get the lead out” means to hurry up! We’re proud of you! :-)

    • We think the Ukrainian Easter eggs you and your friend decorated are WONDERful, Betsy! We’re super proud of you both! It looks like so much FUN to create artwork on eggs that way! :-)

  2. Easter eggs are awesome! I didn’t know that you can do so many different designs. They’re so cool. Can’t wait ’till tomorrow’s.

    • We’re glad you learned some new ways to decorate eggs by exploring this Wonder, Becca! Thank you for visiting today’s Wonder of the Day® and for being excited to see what tomorrow’s Wonder is, too! :-)

    • Sure, we think faces can be art, Madison and Russell! We think about some of the AWESOME masks we’ve seen on television and in movies! Also, we know some AMAZING face painters who use people’s noses, cheeks, and foreheads as their canvases to create GREAT works of art! :-)

    • Thanks so much for sharing what you think about Easter eggs being art, Saad! We sure appreciate your comment today! :-)

    • That’s a SUPER guess, Jane! We can’t wait to visit tomorrow’s Wonder to see if your guess is correct! :-)

  3. I did my Easter egg hunt. I found 15 eggs at my backyard. I got a lot a chocolate, including Reese’s Cups, Hershey bars and Hershey Kisses. Sorry it’s so late, I had to do a lot of homework.

    TJ

    • WOW! It sounds like the Easter Bunny left you some really awesome treats, TJ! Thanks for letting us know how your egg hunt went…we appreciate it! :-)

  4. I thought today’s wonder and video were very neat. I think that the next wonderopolis wonder will be about pirates. Also, I just wanted to say I am a very big fan of this website.

    • What an AWESOME comment you left for us today, Abrianna! Thanks for letting us know you are a big fan of learning in Wonderopolis! We love learning here, too! :-)

    • WOW! Those eggs are AMAZING and WONDERful, Anthony! Thank you so much for sharing about them. The artist who creates them must have a LOT of patience! We’re glad you stopped by Wonderopolis today and left us this comment…THANK YOU! :-)

    • We think that sounds like WONDERful fun, Ms. Shultz’s third grade class! Please take a picture to share with us if you guys give it a try…we would LOVE to see your creativity! :-)

    • We like your enthusiasm, John! We agree that those eggs were amazing…and beautiful…and WONDERful! Thanks for being a GREAT Wonder Friend and leaving us a comment today! :-)

  5. I love to dye Easter eggs the traditional way by dipping them in colored dye, but the designs in the clip were way more detailed.

    • Thanks so much for sharing your favorite way to decorate Easter eggs, Laura! We’re so happy that you stopped by Wonderopolis today! :-)

    • That’s really cool, Heather! Thanks for sharing your personal connection to this Wonder…we think pysanky ROCK! :-)

  6. Hi, Wonderopolis. Thank for helping me learn about pysanky which is “to write” and Ukranie is a country in Euroupe. I never knew that they could be a wax seal on an Easter egg. There are so many beautiful designs, don’t you agree? I have a Question…how easy is pysanky? Thanks for all of your help. P.S. the video really helped me learn a lot.

    • WOW! You sure did learn a lot about pysanky, Team McNeil 5! We agree with you…there are SO many beautiful designs! We think the difficulty level of creating pysanky depends on how intricate the design is and how many different layers of color the artist wants to show on his or her finsihed egg. We know it takes some craftspeople years to learn to make pysanky! We think kids can learn to do it, too, though! :-)

    • How cool, Emma! We Wonder if you have decorated Easter eggs (or Pysanky) with traditional folk designs? We LOVE learning about cool cultures and traditions- thanks for sharing your comment! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Can Easter eggs be art?
  • What is pysanky?
  • Which country is pysanky associated with?

Wonder Gallery

Easter eggs_shutterstock_26946889Vimeo Video

Try It Out

Ready to try pysanky? You’ll need plenty of help from an adult, so make this a family project.

First, check out some examples of pysanky in this online pysanky photo gallery. There are many beautiful examples to see. Which ones inspire you the most?

For an overview of the pysanky process, read through How To Make Ukrainian Easter Eggs. This site will give you a good idea of the steps involved in pysanky. Then check out the special pysanky supplies you’ll need.

Once you’re ready to give pysanky a try, you can follow more detailed pysanky instructions here. You might also want to watch the pysanky videos on this site for additional help.

When you’re finished, be sure to share your creations with your Wonder Friends. Post pictures on Facebook and let us know how much fun you had making them. We can’t wait to see your eggs-cellent works of art!

 

Still Wondering

Check out Science NetLinks’ The Science of Spring lesson to learn about seeds and how they grow by conducting your own plant investigation.

 

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