Friday, August 18, 2006

Pysanky (Easter Eggs)

Way back on July 20th in my Assumption of Mary post, I referenced a "Giant Easter Egg" museum. Well, here it is in all of its giant eggish glory! Unfortunately it was being renovated at the time, but you can use your imagination. The museum is nestled in the small town of Kolomya, in the foothills of the beautiful Carpathians. It was constructed in a shape of an Easter egg made of colorful glass. The Museum owns a collection of over 6000 exhibits. Its egg coloring masters have invented methods of Easter egg creation, maintenance, and restoration. What lies inside the museum are hundreds upon hundreds of wonderfully and masterfully decorated Easter eggs.

Pysanky (peh-san-keh) is the correct term for these "Easter eggs". The name Pysanky comes from the Ukrainian word pysaty which means "to write". I have many memories of concocting different dipping combinations to create elborate designs when dyed eggs when I was younger, but I never remember "writing" on one. But this is the difference between a Pysanka (singular) and your run of the mill Easter Egg. It is a very tedious, time consuming, and skillful process, which explains why Americans just put some dye in vinegar and plop a hard boiled egg in it. I'm just joking, sort of.

Pysanky is a ancient tradition in the heart of Europe, with the tradition enduring thousands of years to what is modern day Ukraine through any number of rulers, empires, and nations. The Pysanky is created by cracking the egg open, cleaning to prevent rotting, and reconstructing/reinforcing the egg with paper mache on the inside. Starting with the blank egg, you apply molten beeswax with a pen-like tool in a handwriting motion (hence the name) everywhere you want to remain white. Then you dye the egg in the lightest color. You again apply the molten wax, this time everywhere you want the lightest color to remain. This process is repeated with each consecutively darker color until you have applied wax and dyed the egg in the darkest color. At this point you hold the egg next to a flame and melt off all the wax to reveal a masterpiece much like the ones below (which I purchased for only $7!):

On this egg is a modified Ukrainian crest.

This egg bears the traditional Ukrainian Easter Greeting "Christ is Risen!"

I am going camping for the weekend, with Good Shepherd's college group. I know a lot of people don't think I do anything at work, but it is very mentally draining. I am really looking forward to spending the next 2 days surrounded by God's beautiful creation while getting some solid time in Christian fellowship, in prayer, diving into His Word, and worship.

For His Glory,

David Knepprath


Mirranda said...

Those are beautiful!

I hope you get some time to relax this weekend. :) Talk to you on Wednesday!

Jessi said...

Ah, the eggs. Haha, cool pictures.

Have fun camping :)

Melany said...

This is very similar to the Romanian Easter tradition, although in Romania,the Easter eggs are painted red. You might find the folklore explanation interesting, though it's not Biblical so it is no more than a tradition. At least in Eastern Europe they still know why they are celebrating- Hristos a inviat! Adevarat a inviat! (Christ is risen! Truly He is Risen!)

David Knepprath said...

Well, they at least acknowledge and pay homage (even if it is just tradition) to why they are celebrating Easter, if they truly understand and know why they are greeting people with "Christ is risen!" is another question, sadly.

You're right though, it's still much better then just Easter bunnies, Easter egg hunts, and candy/chocolate. Well, the candy's not bad, actually Easter has my favorite candy of any holiday, but you know what I mean. :)

David Knepprath said...

Melany, Also, traditional Ukrainian Easter Eggs are brown and orange, much like in the third picture.