(decorated eggs), are a symbol of spring and new life. It is only natural to
have the egg represent the New Birth Life that is ours in the Risen Christ. Eggs
are a sign of hope and resurrection. Jesus comes forth from the tomb as the
chick breaks through shell at birth. It is fitting that these eggs that are
blessed should be brightly decorated. Písanky comes from the verb, pisať, which means to write.
Some of the most beautiful
Easter eggs in the world originated in the Slavic nations. The eggs were
decorated using a special stylus dipped in melted beeswax. The pattern was put
on the clean surface of an egg with wax and then the egg was dipped into a dye.
The places covered with wax were not colored by the dye. The Eastern European
women took great pride in the originality of their eggs; the eggs were sometimes
decorated in secrecy. They were seen in public for the first time when the
Easter Basket was blessed.
The Art goes back well
before the beginnings of Christianity. Though the meanings of the design vary
from place to place. Certain motifs are usually used in particular areas.
Different colors have special significance. Green means money; purple, power;
orange, attraction; black, remembrance; blue, health; brown, happiness; white,
purity; red, love; pink, success; and yellow, spirituality.
Some of the designs used
were a rose or floral pattern symbolizing encouragement of fondness and love;
hens and roosters, fertility and the fulfillment of wishes; fish, ancient symbol
of Christ; reindeer or horse, wealth and prosperity; little baskets or any trio
signifies Holy Trinity or fire, air & water; and the pine tree is eternal
youth and health. Important symbols of our Easter eggs will add rich
significance to this very popular food.
Písanky are never made
from cooked eggs. Either blown or uncooked eggs are used. It is best to use
blown eggs, if you want to keep them for a long time.
way to dye eggs was to cook an egg together with onionskins and the stems from
winter crops or other plants. Even today, women and girls usually prepare
decorated eggs. Though most people just purchase the dyes. In southern areas of
central Slovakia patterns are scratched into the egg’s painted surface. These
are called Kraslice meaning “beauties”. Painting patterns with various
colors directly on eggs is also common.
Decorations are sometimes
made by the lengthy process of gluing cut straws or plant pulp on to a clean
egg. Such decorated eggs are given to the boys who come to douse girls with
water on Easter Monday.