Symbolism

 

Below is a list of traditional symbolism I regularly use. I find them to be a very 

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important part in the process of designing a Pysanky.  Often when designing an

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original, I will look at this list and jot down aspects I most wish to be conveyed in

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the egg.  One of the most  exciting elements of the process is I never quite know

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how the final design will look but rarely am I disappointed.

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CHRISTIAN & PRE-CHRISTIAN SYMBOLISM

 

 

Acorn – Preparing for the future

 

 

 

Basket – Motherhood, the giver of life and gifts

 

 

 

Bees – These insects provide beeswax for use in creating Pysanky

 

 

 

Birds – Fertility and fulfillment of wishes

 

 

 

Butterflies – Pleasure of childhood

 

 

Churches – Houses of worship

 

 

 

 

Circles – Protection, continuity, the sun & everlasting life

 

 

 

Cross – The Christian faith

 

 

 

Curls – Defense or protection

 

 

 

Deer – Wealth & prosperity

 

 

 

Diamonds – Knowledge

 

 

 

Dots or small circles – Mary tears at the crucifixion or The stars & constellations

 

 

 

Egg itself – Life and eternal cycle of creation

 

 

 

Fish – Christ was a fisher of men


 

 

Flowers – Beauty, children and the female principles of wisdom

 

 

 

Forty triangles – Forty days of lent

 

 

 

Grapes & Grapevine – A good harvest or Wine of Holy Communion & good fellowship.  Growth of the Christian Church.


 

 

Hearts – Love

 

 

 

Hens – Fertility

 

 

 

Hens feet – Protection of young

 

 

 

Horse – Wealth & Prosperity

 

 

 

Ladder – Prayers going to heaven or Searching & good husbandry


 

 

Leaves – Immortality, growth or eternal love

 

 

 

Lines encircling the egg – Everlasting life

 

 

 

Netting – Christ was a fisher of men or Separating good from evil


 

 

Oak Leaf – Strength of the mighty oak tree

 

 

 

Pine Needles – Youth, strength and health

 

 

 

Poppy flower – Ukrainian favorite represented for their color, joy and beauty

 

 

 

Pussy Willow – Anticipation of spring

 

 

 

Rake – Successful harvest or agriculture

 

 

 

Rams horns – Strength, leadership & masculinity

 

 

 

Roosters – Good fortune & masculinity

 

 

 

Roosters comb – Masculinity

 

 

 

Roses – God’s love for humanity

 

 

 

Spiders – Patience, artistry & industry

 

 

 

Spirals – Mystery of life & death


 

 

Star (eight pointed) – Ancient symbol of Christ


 

 

Sun – Life giving love of God

 

 

 

Trees – Strength & renewal

 

 

 

Triangle – The Holy Trinity; fire, air & water

 

 

 

Triangle with center circle – Gods’ eye

 

 

 

Water or wavy lines – Protection & health

 

 

 

Wheat – Bountiful harvest

 

 

 

Windmills – Sun worship & fire or happiness & goodwill


 

 

Wolves teeth – Loyalty & wisdom

 

 

COLOR – Both Christian & Pre-Christian meanings

XX   White – Purity & birth

XX  Yellow - Reward, recognition, light & purity

XX  Orange – Endurance, strength & eternal sun
XX  Pink – Joy of life & love

XX  Red – Divine love & passion of Christ, Joy of life & love

XX  Green – Bountifulness, hope & the victory of life over death.  Fertility, health & hopefulness

XX  Purple – Faith, fasting, trust & patience

XX  Brown – Mother Earth & her bountiful gifts

XX  Blue – Blue skies & fresh air

XX  Black – Remembrance, constancy or eternity


COLOR COMBINATION MEANINGS

XX & XX Black & White – Mourning, respect for the souls of the dead

XX & XX Black & Red – Ignorance arising from passions

XX & XX Red and White – Respect, protection from evil powers

Four or more colors – Family happiness, peace and love

 

 

 REFERENCES:

These symbolism explanations and similar pictures can be found in the following books:

Ukrainian Design Book 1 by Perchyshyn, Luciow and Kmit

Ukrainian Easter Egg Design Book 2 by Perchyshyn, Luciow

Ukrainian Easter Egg Design Book 3 by Natalie Perchyshyn

Ukrainian Easter Egg Design Book 4 by Natalie Perchyshyn

Ukrainian Easter Egg Design Book 5 (60th Anniversary Edition) by Natalie Perchyshyn and Deanna Perchyshyn

Ukrainian Easter Eggs by Kmit, Luciow & Perchyshyn

Eggs  Beautiful by Luciow and Kmit

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The above seven books can be purchased several places but the authors website is especially interesting to visit.  Their physical store is Ukrainian Gift Shop located in Minneapolis, MN.  I have purchased supplies there for years and they are very friendly and helpful.  http://www.ukrainiangiftshop.com/

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This last book is another favorite located in my home library and also contributed to my knowledge of symbolism.  It is an especially beautiful book to look at Pysanky in the 21st Century by Helen Badulak.  Helens’ online store is Pysanky Collectibles   http://www.pysankycollectibles.com/index.html and is physically located in Fleetwood, PA.