The Ancient Ukrainian Tradition of Pysanka

Photo of Pysanka

In ancient Ukrainian culture, eggs were decorated in a style called Pysanka (plural ‘Pysanky’), using wax and dye.

Back in Pagan times, Pysanky where thought to protect people and were placed in homes for that purpose.

They were also placed in caskets to capture evil spirits. The artwork on the Pysanky has no definitive visible beginning or end. It was thought that once an evil spirit got caught in the design, it could not exit and was trapped in a type of maze. This prevented it from being able to inflict harm upon the spirit of the departed.

The Pysanka tradition is still alive among modern Ukrainians and people of Ukrainian descent, as part of Easter celebrations. People give Pysanka eggs to each other for the holiday.

Many thanks to Marijka Hayda for sharing the history of this tradition with us. Thanks also to Luba Petrusha for letting me take images from his photo.

PS This demo about making Pysanka lets you see how it’s done.

This article was posted on Friday, February 22nd, 2008 at 7:37 pm and is filed under Countries & Cultures, Customs and Traditions, Easter, Easter Eggs, Holidays Around the World, Languages, Ukraine, Ukrainian. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

3 Responses to “The Ancient Ukrainian Tradition of Pysanka”

  1. Misha Says:

    I want to take a class on how to decorate eggs in this traditional Ukrainian style. I live in California, in the Sacramento region, and I am having a hard time finding a place/class that offers lessons.

  2. Lisa Says:

    Our local art league has a class in Pysanka. Do you have something like that near you that you can check or perhaps a Russian or Ukrainian organization that might offer classes?

    Can anyone else help answer Misha’s question?

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