April 08, 2009

Easter Eggs.

Growing up in Eastern Europe, the tradition of "Easter Eggs" was a very significant one for me.
We did not grow up with the western tradition of "Easter Egg Hunt", although we do recognize the symbol of the Easter Bunny.

In the Slavic culture, the decoration of Easter Eggs is an art form and the display of the decorated eggs is a must in each household. There are many ways, in which one can chose to carry out the decorations. The true, talented artists can create incredible masterpieces. The most common method to decorate is to use the empty eggshell of raw eggs, from which the contents has been has expelled. Then, using hot wax and a metal loop stylus, one can create intricate ornaments all over the surface of the empty egg. After the wax has cooled and hardened, the egg is submerged into series of colour baths creating a stunning pattern that is revealed eventually, when the wax is melted away.
Other techniques include using dry straw, colourful fabrics and wool.

Of course, most ordinary people opt for a much more simple way of colouring the Easter Eggs. My mothers used to hardboil them and then dip them in water soluble colorants, which were commercially available. Once the colour dried, we decorated the eggs with Easter motifs stickers and rubbed them in vegetable oil, to create a wonderful shine. Then the eggs were placed in baskets all over the house during the holidays.

14 comments :

Donna said...

I've tried the hot wax decorating method before and that was fun. Now I just dip them in the water soluble color and let our grandchild get creative with dye and q-tips. We paint our names on an egg, and use them at our place settings for Easter dinner.

Jill said...

Hi Protege! Thanks for stopping by The Glen. I adore Betsy! It is so very nice to meet you. I can just envision you in your lovely home cuddling your kitty cat! I too, live with a handsome Irish man although at The Glen! I look forward to reading your blog!
Jill

Hilary said...

So did you decorate the ones in the photo??

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Those are just fabulous traditions, Zee - Do you decorate your garden bushes with eggs too, as is done in parts of Germany?

I think your eggs are much nicer than all the choccie eggs we indulge in here - Have a wonderful Easter, Z, may you have your Easter wishes come true, whatever that involves x

Holly said...

This was an interesting post to read. When I was growing up a friends mom used to make ucranian eggs in the exact fashion that you described. They were extraordinary. (In their design and in the amount of work that went into them.) I used to watch her in awe as she would rub away this ugly dark hot wax and these unreal colors would vibrantly shine through.

I am more of the super market color and vinegar type myself.:) Although once in a while I do get a little crazy with assorted sharpie markers. ;)

My mom collected corn husk dolls when I was a young girl. That post hit my sentimental side. :):)

Betsy said...

Oh, I'm so glad you met Jill ~ she's a sweetie and a personal friend in my village!

I am always amazed at the intricate beauty of some decorated Easter eggs! The possibilities are endless and some are quite detailed!

steviewren said...

Beautiful eggs! I've never tried any other method of dying eggs except with the little kits that you can buy. Year before last my granddaughters and I dyed a couple dozen.

sallymandy said...

Hi Protege: This is a fun and interesting post! Thank you. Did you learn to decorate eggs the Ukrainian way?

My good friend Molly taught me the rudiments of this craft a few years ago, and my daughter and even husband have joined me in it. We call them "Pysanky" eggs, though I'm not sure where that name came from. I was just thinking about them today before I read your post.

Lovely! Happy Easter my friend.

Valentine said...

Its nice to see the subtle differences between cultures when it comes to something like easter eggs.. hehe.. I remember decorating some using felt tip pens when I was younger. I dont remember how the designs turned out, though!

I miss easter egg hunting. Very few neighborhoods in our community practice it nowadays. *sigh*

ps

Thanks for the song list you left on my music post. Im gonna go check them out. :-)

xoxo

V

Protege said...

=Donna,
I knew that you were very creative and this is exactly what I did with my mother when I was a child - except we used the eggs in baskets for decoration. It is a lot of fun and I bet it makes the table more personal.
Wishing you a Happy Easter.;)

=Jill,
so nice to meet you too. I can so understand why you and Betsy are good friends.;)
I read Betsy's favorite blog list on her sidebar and the name of yours had an Irish association, so I popped over for a visit and I am glad I did.;)
Irishmen are the best, aren't they.;))
Thank you for paying me a visit as well.;))

=Hilary,
I am not that talented, although I wish I was.;)) The top picture, which is also a part of the top picture in the sidebar contains eggs that were purchased in Slovakia. The bottom picture are eggs that my mother gave me. Although they would resemble something that we would be making ourselves. I have not painted any eggs this year as I could not get hold of the right colorants. The paper container in the lower picture is from previous year.;))
Hope your Easter will be lovely dear friend.;)

=Fhina,
thank yo so much for your Easter wishes, right back at you!:)
My mother used to have branches of blooming willow, so very symbolic of Easter and she would then put small colourful feathers on them and hang eggs on them as well.;)) So you are absolutely right.
Happy Easter dear friend.;)

=Holly,
it seems that your mother had traditions almost identical to mine. That is exactly how it is done!
And I am like you in the respect to the super market colours and vinegar.;))
I hope the memories that the dolls brought back were sentimental in a good way.;)
Happy Easter dear friend.;))

=Betsy,
yes, I found Jill's blog on your sidebar.;)) The Irish reference in the name made me curious.;)) She seems as sweet and as kind as you are.;)
I agree with details of the Easter Eggs, amazing what talented people can do.;))

=steviewren,
I have too tried the kits; I think the best about the egg colouring is all the fun and laughter one can share with family and friends. That is why I colour eggs more rarely now when I have to do it alone. I prefer company.;))
Hope you will have a Happy Easter.:)

=sallymandy,
so right you are, Pysanky they are called.;) Considering that Slovakia borders with Ukraine in the east, we do share some similar traditions. The Easter Egg decorations are very similar. How interesting that you have tried it, it is very intricate and complicated, but makes for beautiful decoration.;))
Always so glad when you stop by.;))Happy Easter to you too my friend.;))

=Valentine,
I was wondering what kind of Easter traditions you have in your part of the world. Maybe you can re-introduce the egg hunting back into your neighborhood.;)
Glad you liked the list, the songs were very random and some of them are really old.;))
Happy Easter to you.;)))

Gal Friday said...

Those kinds of eggs are truly beautiful, but I would never have the patience to decorate them like that in the traditional way. When I was younger, we also used to dye eggs like you did(even with the little decals) but of course, as you know, I would never eat them. :-P
We also celebrated the Orthodox Easter and my mother would dye the eggs a deep, deep red.

Protege said...

=Tina,
wow, deep red sounds beautiful!
I agree with you, it takes a lot of patience, but it is so much fun to do this with family or friends. I rarely do it now that I am alone.;)
Hope you are having a lovely Easter.;))

Noelle Chantal said...

I bet the designs of the Easter eggs in Europe are very bautiful. I haven't seen one as beautiful as in your photo here.

Last Sunday, I bought a plastic egg and fill it up with chocolates and candies. I planned to hide them at the sand for my nephews to find as part of our Easter egg hunting! But I ended up giving it to them one by one, because they all got excited to swim at the beach. hehe :)

Protege said...

=Noelle,
I can imagine that it was difficult to resist not to give the chocolate away.;))
Small children make all the holidays so much more enjoyable as they can find happiness and joy in the smallest of things.;)
Hope you had a wonderful Easter.;)