Pysanky at St. Pauls House
April 11th, 2009
Easter eggs are a Chirstian tradition across the world. The brightly colored eggs symbolize life and renewal, the miracles of Easter. These eggs can be put in festive baskets, given as gifts, and even used in a game of hide and seek for fun. Dying the eggs is an Easter ritual many people look forward. While dying eggs in America is generally a simple process of dipping eggs into different dyes, some people prefer to follow Eastern European traditions, which involve a much more elaborate dying process.
This Easter, residents at St Pauls House, a Lutheran Life Community in Chicago Illinois, learned about the Ukrainian egg decorating tradition from a volunteer, Nicole. The elaborate designs feature multiple colors, patterns and symbols turn an egg shell into an artist canvas. The Easter eggs, called “pysanky,” require time, patience, and a steady hand to color. Every color has a meaning – green is new life, red is passion and hope, white is purity, purple is patience and faith, etc. These colors represent the thoughts and experiences Christians reflect on and cherish, especially at Easter.
Hot beeswax is used to create the designs. They are drawn on the egg, and then it is dipped in dye. Different layers of dye and wax are added to create the colorful patterns. Residents observed the dying demonstration and learned a little bit of culture as well. At the end of the demonstration, keeping with tradition, the newly decorated eggs were given to St. Pauls House for residents, staff, and visitors to enjoy.