History of Pysanky

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The History of Pysanky & decorating eggs is long and rich. 

For every source I have read over the years, I learned something new. 

So instead of interpreting it all in my own words, here are

a few of those examples:

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Ukrainian Easter Egg Decorating has been handed down through generations of the Ukrainian people. They are famous the world over for their colorful Easter Eggs (Pysanky). Over 2000 years ago, before the time of Christ, people decorated eggs believing that great powers were embodied in the egg. Eggs symbolized the release of the earth from the shackles of winter and the coming of spring with its promise of new hope, new life and prosperity. With the advent of Christianity, Easter eggs symbolize the Resurrection and a promise of eternal life. Legend has it that as long as pysanky are decorated, goodness will prevail over evil throughout the world.

Reference: The Ukrainian gift Shop  http://www.ukrainiangiftshop.com/pages/art.htm

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Since the earliest of times people have sought meaning for life’s mysteries and in the process have found the need for worship. One of the earliest objects of worship for primitive man was the sun. The ancient Ukrainians determined that when an egg was broken the yolk represented the sun and the white the moon. The egg became part of various ceremonies and took on a particular significance in the spring rituals. In winter Earth was dormant and appeared to have no life, just as the egg appeared to have no life. But as the seemingly dead egg hatched a living thing the earth too sprang to life in spring. Consequently, the egg became a symbol of life…

Reference: International Adoption Agency   http://www.faithfuladoption.org/adoption/ukraine/pysanky.aspx

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After reading many books, articles, and other eggers view of the history of pysanky, I find that pysanky has been around between 1,000 years to over 4,000 years. The meanings of the symbols have changed some from Pre-Christian also referred to as pagan time to the time that Christianity was brought to Ukraine. According to the many articles on the subject this was in 988 AD.  Pysanky might have two or more colors. These different colors have meaning and most express protection. Other colors reflect on intelligence, feelings, and good luck.  Wax and dyes are used to achieve the beautiful artwork. In the past dyes from nature were used. Today aniline dyes render the wonderful colors on pysanky.  Pysanky, is given for all occasions, according to the research on the subject they are given from birth to death, and everything in between.For more complete information on the history and the symbols of pysanky please look for these books:  Ukrainian Easter Eggs, by Yaroslava Surmach; Pysanky: Icon of the Universe, by Mary Tkachuk, Marie Kishchuk, Alice Nicholaichuk; Eggs Beautiful How to Make Ukrainian Easter Eggs, by Johanna Luciow, Loretta Luciow; National Geographic April 1972, Easter Grettings From the Ukrainians, by Robert Paul Jordan

Reference: Lorrie Popow Master Pysanky Artist   http://www.pysankymaster.com/History/History.htm

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History of pysanky goes many centuries back to pagan times. The egg had a particular significance in the traditional pagan spring rituals and symbolized rebirth of nature, new hopes, and new life. With the acceptance of Christianity in 988 A.D. many pagans beliefs and customs were adopted and transformed into Christian traditions and became their inalienable part. Tradition of decorating eggs became part of the Easter rituals.  The design and symbols used for decorating Easter eggs were handed down from mothers to daughters for centuries. Everything had its special meaning: colors and their combinations, symbols and ornaments, even the right spiritual frame of mind was required in order woman (only women were allowed to decorate eggs) could perform this mystical ritual.

Reference: Ukraine Travel Advisor   http://www.ukraine-travel-advisor.com/pysanky.html

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