Well, one more week until Holy Week, just enough time to consider whether you might like to try the traditional Easter art of pysanky! Pysanky, or the creation of decorated Ukrainian Easter eggs, is a very old practice that originated in Eastern Europe. Traditionally during Holy Week, and in some communitites throughout Lent, Ukrainian ladies would gather in the evenings to decorate these special Easter eggs to adorn the baskets that they would bring to be blessed Easter morning. The baskets were a celebration of new life, often including things that had been given up during Lent, such as meat, eggs, and rich breads.
Last year I was curious and decided to try this art for the first time. My children joined me in learning, and we have all come to enjoy and value this quiet, simple, meditative activity. Perhaps you might like to try it as well this year?
The materials you will need are very simple and inexpensive:
- a kistka (writing tool)
- beeswax for pysanky
- a candle and holder
- eggs (you can buy empty eggs here); or blow your own out (more frustrating!)
- pysanky dyes
You can also just purchase complete kits here.
If you plan to use these materials for a number of people, just get each person their own kistka, and maybe one beeswax per 2 people, and you can share the rest of the supplies.
The basic idea is that you use the kistka, which you fill with beeswax, to “write” a design on the egg. Wherever the beeswax lines are will remain white. Then you dye the egg the first color. Always going from lightest dye color to darkest. Once your egg is dyed, you pat it dry, and continue to add more lines and designs. These new lines will now remain the first color of dye. Continuing thus, you can add many different colors to get intricate designs. This is a wonderful book that teaches the different steps (I first discovered it at our library), and there are many great YouTube tutorials as well that show the process.
My finished eggs from this year. I went with a blue and white theme:)
My best advice to learn is to simply watch one of the above simple videos and try it for yourself. At first it will be quite challenging to make a straight line, but the more you practice the easier it will be! We would love to have you tag us on Instagram @thehomelyhours if you make your own pysanky.