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


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


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


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


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







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


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




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


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.


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 and is physically located in Fleetwood, PA.