Pysanka: Wikis

  
  

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A pysanka (Ukrainian: писанка, plural: pysanky) is a Ukrainian Easter egg, decorated using a wax-resist (batik) method. The word comes from the verb pysaty, "to write", as the designs are not painted on, but written with beeswax.

Many other eastern European ethnic groups, including the Belarusians (пісанка), Bulgarians (писано яйце, pisano yaytse), Serbs (pisanica), Czechs (kraslice), Lithuanians (margutis), Poles (pisanka), Romanians (ouă vopsite, incondeiate or impistrite), Slovaks (kraslica), and Slovenes (pisanica, pirhi or remenke) decorate eggs in a similar manner for Easter.

A mix of modern and traditional Ukrainian pysanky

Contents

Types of decorated eggs

Pysanka is often taken to mean any type of decorated egg, but it specifically refers to an egg created by the written-wax batik method. Several types of decorated eggs are seen in Ukrainian tradition, and these vary throughout the regions of Ukraine.

  • Krashanky (from красити krasyty, "to decorate") are boiled eggs dyed a single color (with vegetable dyes), and are blessed and eaten at Easter.
  • Pysanky (from писати pysaty, "to write") are raw eggs created with the wax-resist method (batik). The designs are "written" in hot wax with a stylus or a pin-head. Wooden eggs and beaded eggs are often referred to as "pysanky" because they mimic the decorative style of pysanky in a different medium.
  • Krapanky (from крапка krapka, "a dot") are raw eggs decorated using the wax-resist method, but with only dots as ornamentation (no symbols or other drawings). They are traditionally created by dripping molten wax from a beeswax candle onto an egg.
  • Dryapanky (from дряпати dryapaty, "to scratch") are created by scratching the surface of a dyed egg to reveal the white shell below.
  • Malyovanky (from малювати malyuvaty, "to paint") are created by painting a design with a brush using oil or water color paints. It is sometimes used to refer to coloring (e.g. with a marker) on an egg.
  • Lystovky (from листя lystya, "leaves") are created by dyeing an egg to which small leaves have been attached.

All but the krashanky are usually meant to be decorative (as opposed to edible), and the egg yolk and white are either allowed to dry up over time, or removed by blowing them out through a small hole in the egg.

History

The world's largest pysanka was erected in Vegreville, Alberta in 1974, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Photo album

The art of the decorated egg in Ukraine, or the pysanka, probably dates back to ancient times. No actual ancient examples exist, as eggshells are fragile.

As in many ancient cultures, Ukrainians worshipped a sun god (Dazhboh). The sun was important - it warmed the earth and thus was a source of all life. Eggs decorated with nature symbols became an integral part of spring rituals, serving as benevolent talismans.

In pre-Christian times, Dazhboh was one of the main deities in the Slavic pantheon; birds were the sun god's chosen creations, for they were the only ones who could get near him. Humans could not catch the birds, but they did manage to obtain the eggs the birds laid. Thus, the eggs were magical objects, a source of life. The egg was also honored during rite-of-Spring festivals––it represented the rebirth of the earth. The long, hard winter was over; the earth burst forth and was reborn just as the egg miraculously burst forth with life. The egg, therefore, was believed to have special powers.

With the advent of Christianity, via a process of religious syncretism, the symbolism of the egg was changed to represent, not nature's rebirth, but the rebirth of man. Christians embraced the egg symbol and likened it to the tomb from which Christ rose. With the acceptance of Christianity in 988, the decorated pysanka, in time, was adapted to play an important role in Ukrainian rituals of the new religion. Many symbols of the old sun worship survived and were adapted to represent Easter and Christ's Resurrection.

In modern times, the art of the pysanka was carried abroad by Ukrainian emigrants to North and South America, where the custom took hold, and concurrently banished in Ukraine by the Soviet regime (as a religious practice), where it was nearly forgotten. Museum collections were destroyed both by war and by Soviet cadres. Since Ukrainian Independence in 1991, there has been a rebirth of the art in its homeland.

Archeology

No actual pysanka have been found from Ukraine's prehistoric periods, as eggshells do not preserve well. Cultic ceramic eggs have been discovered in excavations near the village of Luka Vrublivets'ka, during excavations of a Trypillian site (5th to 3rd century BC). These eggs were ornamented, and in the form of торохкальці (rattles containing a small stone with which to scare evil spirits away).[1]

Similarly, no actual pysanky from the Kyivan-Rus period exist, but stone, clay and bone versions do, and have been excavated in many sites throughout Ukraine. Most common are ceramic eggs decorated with a сосонка (horsetail plant) pattern in yellow and bright green against a dark background. More than 70 such eggs have been excavated throughout Ukraine, many of them from graves of children and adults. They are thought to be representations of real decorated eggs.

These ceramic eggs were common in Kyivan Rus, and had a characteristic style. They were slightly smaller than life size (2.5 by 4 cm, or 1 by 1.6 inches), and were created from reddish pink clays by the spiral method. The majolica glazed eggs had a brown, green or yellow background, and showed interwoven yellow and green stripes. The eggs made in large cities like Kyiv and Chernihiv, which had workshops that produced clay tile and bricks; these tiles (and pysanky) were not only used locally, but were exported to Poland, and to several Scandinavian and Baltic countries.[2]

The oldest "real" pysanka was excavated in Baturyn in 2008, and dates to the end of the 17th century. Baturyn was Hetman Mazepa's capital, and it was razed in 1708 by the armies of Peter I. A complete (but crushed) pysanka was discovered, a chicken egg shell with geometric designs against a blue-gray background.[3] The pysanka is currently being reconstructed; when completed, it will allow us to see what sort of ornamentation was in use in pre-1708 Ukraine.

Legends

The Hutsuls––Ukrainians who live in the Carpathian Mountains of western Ukraine––believe that the fate of the world depends upon the pysanka. As long as the egg decorating custom continues, the world will exist. If, for any reason, this custom is abandoned, evil––in the shape of a horrible serpent who is forever chained to a cliff–– will overrun the world. Each year the serpent sends out his minions to see how many pysanky have been created. If the number is low the serpent's chains are loosened and he is free to wander the earth causing havoc and destruction. If, on the other hand, the number of pysanky has increased, the chains are tightened and good triumphs over evil for yet another year.

Newer legends blended folklore and Christian beliefs and firmly attached the egg to the Easter celebration. One legend concerns the Virgin Mary. It tells of the time Mary gave eggs to the soldiers at the cross. She entreated them to be less cruel to her son and she wept. The tears of Mary fell upon the eggs, spotting them with dots of brilliant color.

Another legend tells of when Mary Magdalene went to the sepulchre to anoint the body of Jesus. She had with her a basket of eggs to serve as a repast. When she arrived at the sepulchre and uncovered the eggs, the pure white shells had miraculously taken on a rainbow of colors.

A common legend tells of Simon the peddler, who helped Jesus carry his cross on the way to Calvary. He had left his goods at the side of the road, and, when he returned, the eggs had all turned into intricately decorated pysanky.

Superstitions and Folk Beliefs

Many superstitions were attached to pysanky. Pysanky were thought to protect households from evil spirits, catastrophe, lightning and fires. Pysanky with spiral motifs were the most powerful, as the demons and other unholy creatures would be trapped within the spirals forever. A blessed pysanka could be used to find demons hidden in the dark corners of your house.

Pysanky held powerful magic, and had to be disposed of properly, lest a witch get ahold of one. She could use the shell to gather dew, and use the gathered dew to dry up milk cows. The witch could use bits of the eggshell to poke people and sicken them. The eggshell had to be ground up very finely (and fed to chickens to make them good egg layers) or broken into pieces and tossed into a running stream.

The cloth used to dry pysanky was powerful, too, and could be used to cure skin diseases. And it was considered very bad luck to trample on a pysanka–God would punish anyone who did with a variety of illnesses. [4]

There were superstitions regarding the colors and designs on the pysanky. One old Ukrainian myth centered on the wisdom of giving older people gifts of pysanky with darker colors and/or rich designs, for their life has already been filled. Similarly, it is appropriate to give young people pysanky with white as the predominant color because their life is still a blank page. Girls would often give pysanky to young men they fancied, and include heart motifs. It was said, though, that a girl should never give her boyfriend a pysanky that has no design on the top and bottom of the egg, as this might signify that the boyfriend would soon lose his hair.

Making pysanky

An unfinished pysanka ready for the black bath of dye. It bears the Ukrainian Easter greeting: "Christ is risen!"
A variety of styluses, from traditional to modern

Each province, each village, and almost every family in Ukraine had its own special ritual, its own symbols, meanings and secret formulas for dyeing eggs. These customs were preserved faithfully and passed down from mother to daughter through generations. The custom of decorating pysanky was observed with greatest care, and a pysanka, after receiving the Easter blessing, was held to have great powers as a talisman.

Pysanky were traditionally made during the last week of Lent, Holy Week in the Orthodox and Greek (Uniate) Catholic calendars. (Both faiths are represented in Ukraine, and both still celebrate Easter by the Julian calendar.) They were made by the women of the family. During the middle of the Lenten season, women began putting aside eggs, those that were most perfectly shaped and smooth. If possible they should be the first laid eggs of young hens. There had to be a rooster, as only fertilized eggs could be used. (If non-fertile eggs were used, there would be no fertility in the home.)

The dyes were prepared. They were made from dried plants, roots, bark or berries. Yellow was obtained from the flowers of the woadwaxen, and gold from onion skins. Red could be extracted from logwood or cochineal, and dark green and violet for the husks of sunflower seeds and the berries and bark of the elderberry bush. Black dye was made from walnut husks. The dyes were prepared in secret, using methods handed down from mother to daughter to attain the necessary brilliance, clarity and lasting color. Sometimes chemical dyes of unusual or difficult colors were purchased from traders along with alum, a mordant that helped the natural dyes adhere better.

A stylus, known as a pysachok, pysak, pysal'tse, or kystka (kistka), depending on region, was prepared. A piece of thin brass was wrapped around a needle, forming a hollow cone. This was attached to a small stick (willow was preferred) with wire or horsehair. In some regions, mostly in Transcarpathia, a simple pin inserted onto the end of a stick was used instead (drop-pull technique).

The pysanky were made at night, when the children were asleep. The women in the family gathered together, said the appropriate prayers, and went to work. It was done in secret––the patterns and color combinations were handed down from mother to daughter and carefully guarded.

Pysanky were made using a wax resist (batik) method. Beeswax was heated in a small bowl on the stove (піч), and then scooped into the stylus as needed. The molten wax was applied to the white egg with a writing motion; any bit of shell covered with wax would be sealed, and remain white. Then the egg was dyed yellow, and more wax applied, and then orange, red, purple, black. (The dye sequence was always light to dark). Bits of shell covered with wax remained that color. After the final color, usually red, brown or black, the wax was removed by heating the egg next in the stove and gently wiping off the melted wax. Cooked eggs were never used, only raw ones. (Cooked eggs were dyed red for Easter, and called "krashanky"). The number of colors on an egg was usually limited, as natural dyes had very long dyeing times, sometimes hours. Pysanky would be made–and dyed–in batches.

Alternatively, in Transcarpathia and other ethnic Lemko areas, a pinhead was dipped into molten wax and then applied to the shell of the egg. Simple drops were made, or there was an additional pulling motion, which would create teardrop or comma shapes. These drops were used to create patterns and designs. Dyeing and wax removal proceeded as with traditional pysanky.

The purpose of creating the pysanky was to transfer goodness from the household to the designs, and to push away evil. Spirals and other designs were placed which would trap evil, and thus protect the family and home from dangers and evils.

Pysanky continue to be made in modern times; while many traditional aspects have been preserved, new technologies are in evidence. Aniline dyes have largely replaced natural dyes. Styluses are now made with modern materials. Traditional styluses are still made from brass and wood, but those made with more modern plastic handles are gaining in popularity. An electric version of the stylus has been commercially available since the 1970s, with the cone becoming a metal reservoir which keeps the melted beeswax at a constant temperature and holds a much larger amount than a traditional stylus. These newer styluses (whether electric or not) also sport machined heads, with sizes or the opening ranging from extra-fine to extra-heavy.

Sharing pysanky

Pysanky are typically made to be given to family members and respected outsiders. To give a pysanka is to give a symbolic gift of life, which is why the egg must remain whole. Furthermore, each of the designs and colors on the pysanka is likely to have a deep, symbolic meaning. Traditionally, pysanky designs are chosen to match the character of the person to whom the pysanka is to be given. Typically, pysanky are displayed prominently in a public room of the house.

In a large family, by Holy Thursday, 60 or more eggs would have been completed. They would then be taken to the church on Easter Sunday to be blessed, after which they were given away. Here is a partial list of how the pysanky would be used:

  1. One or two would be given to the priest.
  2. Three or four were taken to the cemetery and placed on graves of the family.
  3. Ten or fifteen were given to children or godchildren.
  4. Ten or twelve were exchanged by the unmarried girls with the eligible men in the community.
  5. Several were saved to place in the coffin of loved ones who might die during the year.
  6. Several were saved to keep in the home for protection from fire, lightning and storms.
  7. Two or three were placed in the mangers of cows and horses to ensure safe calving and colting and a good milk supply for the young.
  8. At least one egg was placed beneath the bee hive to insure a good harvest of honey.
  9. One was saved for each grazing animal to be taken out to the fields with the shepherds in the spring.
  10. Several pysanky were placed in the nests of hens to encourage the laying of eggs.

Everyone from the youngest to the oldest received a pysanka for Easter. Young people were given pysanky with bright designs; dark pysanky were given to older people.

A bowl full of pysanky was invariably kept in every home. It served not only as a colorful display, but also as protection from all dangers. Some of the eggs were emptied, and a bird’s head made of wax or dough and wings and tail-feathers of folded paper were attached. These “doves” were suspended before icons in commemoration of the birth of Christ, when a dove came down from heaven and soared over the child Jesus.

Symbolism in pysanky

A collection of traditional pysanky from Volyn.

A great variety of ornamental patterns are found on pysanky. Because of the egg’s fragility, no ancient examples of pysanky have survived. However, similar ornamental patterns occur in pottery, metalwork, Ukrainian embroidery and other crafts, many of which have survived.

The symbols which decorated pysanky underwent a process of adaptation over time. In pre-Christian times these symbols imbued an egg with magical powers to ward off evil spirits, guarantee a good harvest and bring a person good luck. After 988, when Christianity became the state religion of Ukraine, the interpretation of many of the symbols change.

The names and meaning of various symbols and design elements vary from region to region, and even from village to village. Similar symbols can have totally different interpretations in different places. There are several thousand different motifs in Ukrainian folk designs. They can be grouped into several families.

Geometric

The most popular pysanka designs are geometric figures. The egg itself is most often divided by straight lines into squares, triangles and other shapes. These shapes are then filled with other forms and designs. These are also among the most ancient symbols, with the решето (resheto, sieve) motif dating back to Paleolithic times. Other ancient geometric symbols are agricultural in nature: triangles, which symbolized clouds or rain; quadrilaterals, especially those with a resheto design in them, symbolized a ploughed field; dots stood for seeds

Geometric symbols used on pysanky today include the triangle (the Holy Trinity and the elements of air, fire and water), diamonds (knowledge), curls (defense or protection), tripods (man, woman and child or birth, life, and death), and spirals (the mystery of life and death, as well as divinity and immortality). Dots, which once represented stars or cuckoo birds’ eggs (a symbol of spring) became symbols of the tears of the blessed Virgin. Hearts are also sometimes seen, and, as in other cultures, they represent love.

One interesting adaptation of the geometric design is the ornament called "forty triangles" (actually 48) or "Sorokoklyn," became a symbol of the forty days of lent, the forty martyrs, the forty days that Christ spent in the desert, and the forty life tasks of married couples.

Eternity bands

Eternity bands and other dividing elements on pysanky are composed of meanders, waves, lines or ribbons. The so-called "meander" or eternal line motif is one of the most popular due to an interesting legend. The meander on a pysanka has no beginning and no end, and thus an evil spirit which happens to enter a house and land on the egg is trapped forever and will never bother the residents again. It symbolizes harmony, motion, infinity and immortality. Lines and ribbons represent the thread of life or eternity.

Waves stand for wealth, because it was rain that insured good crops.

Christian symbols

The only true Christian symbol, and not one adapted from an earlier pagan one, is the church. Stylized churches are often found on pysanky from western Ukraine, particularly those in the Hutsul regions and Bukovyna; a sieve motif inside symbolizes the church’s ability to separate good from evil.

Crosses are fairly common, although most of those found on traditional pysanky are not Ukrainian (Byzantine) crosses. The crosses most commonly depicted are of the "cross crosslet" type. In pagan times the cross was an earth symbol, its four arms representing the four cardinal direction.

Other adapted religious symbols include a triangle with a circle in the center, denoting the eye of God, and one known as the "hand of god."

Phytomorphic motifs

The most common designs are those associated with plants and their parts (flowers and fruit). Women who painted pysanky drew their inspiration from the world of nature, depicting flowers, trees, fruits, leaves and whole plants in the highly stylized fashion. Such ornaments symbolized the rebirth of nature after winter; thus pysanky with plant motifs were guarantee of a good harvest. The most popular floral design is a plant in a vase of standing on its own, which symbolized the tree of life.

Pysanky created by the mountain people of the Hutsul region of Ukraine often showed a stylized fir tree branch, a symbol of youth and eternal life. Trees symbolized strength, renewal, creation, growth and eternal life, and leaves and branches symbolized immortality, eternal or pure love, strength and persistence. Oak leaves symbolized strength and energy.

Pussy willow branches are often depicted on pysanky; in Ukraine, the pussy willow replaces the palm leaf on Palm Sunday. Wheat symbolizes wishes for good health and a bountiful harvest.

Fruit

Fruit symbolizes continuity, good fellowship, strong and loyal love, and love of God. An Easter egg with an apple or plum motif was thought to bring knowledge and health. The cherry, a symbol of feminine beauty, was supposed to bring happiness and love. Grapes represented brotherhood, goodwill and long-lived and faithful love, as well as (together with wheat) the Holy Communion. Grapevines signify the good fruits of the Christian life.

Flowers

Flowers express the female principle denoting wisdom, elegance and beauty. Among the flowers depicted on Easter eggs were rozhy (mallows), poppies, sunflowers, tulips, carnations, periwinkle and lily-of the-valley. Rozhy (mallows) are often very similar to the eight-pointed star motifs, and symbolize love and caring. Poppies are the beloved flower of Ukraine, symbolizing joy and beauty. Periwinkle represents eternal life. Sunflowers represent motherhood, life, or the love of God.

A vinok, or garland of flowers, echoes the beautiful garlands worn by Ukrainian girls around their heads during holidays and celebrations. On the pysanka, vinky are drawn in three circles around the egg, representing the three parts of human existence: birth, marriage, and life.

Scevomorphic motifs

Scevomorphic designs are the second-largest group of designs, and are representations of man-made objects. Agricultural symbols are very common, as Ukraine was a highly agricultural society, and drew many of its positive images from field and farm. Common symbols include the ladder (symbolizing man's search for happiness or prayers going up to heaven), a sieve (symbolizing the separation of good and evil), and the basket (symbolizing motherhood and knowledge).

Rakes (successful harvest) were commonly depicted, along with combs (putting things in order), windows (window into the heavenly world, female fertility), windmills ( a cross symbol) and the saw (fire, life-giving heat).

Zoomorphic motifs

Although animal motifs are not as popular as plant motifs, they are nevertheless found on pysanky, especially those of the people of the Carpathian Mountains. Such symbols had a double function: they were intended to endow the owner with the best characteristics of a given animal such as health and strength; at the same time they were supposed to ensure animals with a long and productive life. Deer, rams, horses, birds and fish were depicted in the abstract. Horses were popular ornaments because they symbolized strength and endurance, as well as wealth and prosperity. They also had a second meaning as a sun symbol: in some versions of pagan mythology, the sun was drawn across the sky by the steeds of Dazhboh, the sun god. Similarly, deer designs were very prevalent as they were intended to bring prosperity and long life; the stag represented leadership, victory, joy and masculinity. Rams are symbols of leadership, strength, dignity, and perseverance. Lions symbolize strength, but are a rarely used symbol.

Sometime women simply drew parts of animals; these symbols were a sort of shorthand, but were endowed with all the attributes of the animal represented. Ducks’ necks, rabbits’ ears, rams’ horns (strong leadership, perseverance, and dignity), wolves’ teeth (loyalty and wisdom), bear claws (bravery, wisdom, strength and endurance, as well as a guardian spirit and the coming of spring), and bulls’ eyes. Horns of any sort represent nobility, wisdom, and triumph over problems, and imply manhood and leadership.

Birds

Birds were considered the harbingers of spring thus they were a commonplace pysanka motif. Birds of all kinds are the messengers of the sun and heaven, and represent the pushing away of evil; they symbolize fertility, the fulfillment of wishes, and a good harvest. Birds are always shown at rest, never flying (except for swallows). Roosters are symbols of good fortune, masculinity, or the coming of dawn, and hens represent fertility.

Birds were almost always shown in full profile with characteristic features of the species. Partial representations of some birds––mostly domestic fowl––are often seen on pysanky. Bird parts (eyes, feet, beaks, combs, feathers) carry the same meaning as the entire bird. Hen's feet emphasize protection of young, duck and goose feet represent the spirit, the rooster's comb signifies masculinity, and goose feet are symbols of the soul or the spirit.

Insects

Even insects had their place in Ukrainian Easter egg traditions. Spiders and their webs symbolized perseverance, patience and artistic talent. The butterfly is a symbol of a carefree childhood, as well as the journey of the soul into eternal happiness. Bees were a symbol of hard work and pleasantness, and represented all the good insects which should not be killed.

Fish

The fish, originally a symbol of health, eventually came to symbolize Jesus Christ, the "fisher of men." In old Ukrainian fairy tales, the fish often helped the hero to win his fight with evil. In the Greek alphabet “fish” (ICHTHYS) is an acrostic of "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior,” and it became a secret symbol used by the early Christians. The fish represents abundance, as well as Christian interpretations of baptism, sacrifice, the powers of regeneration, and Christ himself.

Snake

Another ancient symbol is that of the змія or serpent, the ancient god of water and earth. The serpent could be depicted in several ways: as an "S" or sigma, as a spiral, or as a wave. Depictions of the serpent can be found on Neolithic Trypillian pottery. The serpent symbol on a pysanka is said to bring protection from catastrophe. Spirals were particularly strong talismans, as an evil spirit, upon entering the house, would be drawn into the spiral and trapped there.

Cosmomorphic motifs

Among the oldest and most important symbols of pysanky is the sun, and the simplest rendering of the sun is a closed circle with or without rays. Pysanky from all regions of Ukraine depict an eight-sided star, the most common depiction of the sun. Six- or seven-sided stars can also be seen, but much less commonly.

The sun can also appear as a flower or a трилист (tripod). The swastika, a "broken cross" or "ducks’ necks" also represented the sun in pagan times. The movement of the arms around the cross represented the movement of the sun across the sky. The slavic pagans also believed that the sun did not rise on its own, but was carried across the sky by a stag (or, in some versions, a horse). The deer often found on Hutsul pysanky is a solar symbol.

Pysanky with sun motifs were said to have been especially powerful, because they could protect their owner from sickness, bad luck and the evil eye. In Christian times the sun symbol is said to represent life, warmth, and the love and eternal existence of God.

Other cosmomorphic symbols are less commonly seen. The moon is sometimes depicted; it is begged to shed its light at night to help the traveller, and to chase away evil powers from the household. Stars are sometimes represented as dots.

Color symbolism

It is not only ornaments on Easter eggs which carry symbolic weight; colors also make a difference. Every area of Ukraine had its preferred color combinations. Although the oldest Easter eggs were simply two-toned, it was believed that the more colors on a decorated egg, the more magical powers it held. A multi-colored egg could thus bring its owner a better fate.

The colors used in pysanka are rich in symbolism. Although each region of Ukraine had its palette of symbols, patterns, designs, and colors, certain meanings were associated with the following colors:

  • White - Signified purity, birth, light, rejoicing, virginity.
  • Yellow - The symbol of light and purity. It signified, youth, love, the harvest and perpetuation of the family. It is the color consecrated to the light deities, and the sun, stars, and moon. It is the Christian symbol of reward and recognition.
  • Gold - Spirituality, wisdom.
  • Orange - The symbol of endurance, strength, and ambition. The color of a flame represented passion tempered by the yellow of wisdom. It is also the symbol of the everlasting sun.
  • Pink - Success, contentment.
  • Green - The color of fertility, health, and hopefulness; of spring, breaking bondage, freshness, and wealth. In the Christian era it represents bounty, hope, and the victory of life over death. Green is the color of Christmas, Easter, and the Epiphany.
  • Red - The magical color of folklore signifying action, charity, and spiritual awakening. It also represented the sun and the joy of life and love. Pysanky with red fields or motifs are often given to children. In the Christian era it represents the divine love and passion of Christ, hope, passion, blood, fire, and the ministry of the church.
  • Blue - Represented blue skies or the air, and good health, truth, and fidelity.
  • Purple - Represented fasting, faith, trust, and patience.
  • Brown - Represented Mother Earth and her bountiful gifts; earth, harvest, generosity.
  • Black - Represented constancy or eternity, the center of the Earth, the darkest time before dawn. Black also signified death, fear, and ignorance.

Combinations of colors had meaning, too:

  • Black and white - Mourning, respect for the souls of the dead.
  • Black and red - Ignorance arising from passions.
  • Red and White - Respect, protection from evil powers.
  • Four or more colors - Family happiness, peace and love.

References

  1. ^ Кириченко, М.А. Український Народний Декоративний Розпис Київ: «Знання-Прес», 2008
  2. ^ Tkachuk, Mary et al. Pysanka: Icon of the Universe Saskatoon: Ukrainian Museum, 1977
  3. ^ Потапчук Наталія. УКРІНФОРМ 23-07-2008
  4. ^ Воропай, Олекса. Звичаї Нашого Народу (Folk Customs of Our People) Київ: «Оберіг», 1993

See also

External links

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Traditional Pysanky

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