Learn to Create Ukrainian Easter Eggs (Pysanky)
For thousands of years the Slavic people of Eastern Europe have decorated eggs. In Ukraine this art is known as Pysanky. In pre-Christian Ukraine these eggs were decorated in an effort to gain the good will of the many nature gods worshiped by the people. Egg designs were used to call forth the springtime, assure fertility for newlywed couples as well as livestock, help with crops, protect homes, and much more.
In 988 C.E. (Common Era) Christianity came to Ukraine. The ancient art of Pysanky became a symbol of the Christian faith. Many designs took on new meaning as faith in Christ spread throughout the land. The eight-point star used to worship the sun became a symbol for Christ. Grapes and wheat, once symbols of the harvest, became symbols for the Eucharist and the harvest of souls. Even the colors have special meanings.
One legend tells of an evil beast chained at the center of the earth. As long as pysanky are made the chains remain tight and evil is held in check. More than ever, we need to be creating pysanky.
The Rev. Dr. Jim Melnyk will be offering two classes this Lent (one online, and one in person at St. John’s).
Saturday, March 26: Zoom class on how to make Pysanky (9:30 am-12:30 pm).
Saturday, April 2: In-person class on how to make Pysanky in the Education Building Ground Floor (9:30 am-12:30 pm) (following Parish Covid Protocols).
In each class Jim will teach some of the basic techniques in egg decorating and share some of the ancient legends surrounding the art. Those who wish to attend either class and learn this sacred art form must purchase the necessary materials ahead of time and have them ready by class time for the class you intend to attend. Materials needed are listed below. Please email Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to sign up (or have questions). A Zoom link will be provided by Jim Melnyk closer to the March 26 class. Registration is required for the April 2 class as well.
PLEASE NOTE: If you wish to take this class you must order your own kit in prior to class so that it arrives in time to mix the dyes ahead of time (they need to cool to room temperature). Be sure to carefully follow the directions for mixing the dyes (no vinegar in the orange dye).
The easiest way to find your materials is to order a kit from The Ukrainian Gift Shop in Roseville, MN. This link will get you to the page to order kits: https://www.ukrainiangiftshop.com/EGG-DECORATING-KITS/products/25/. For the serious student I would recommend KITSD for $32.98. For the less serious minded, KIT2D for $14.98 will do the job (but if you find you really enjoy this art you’ll want to expand your supplies).
Additional materials required:
- Candle and Candle holder (utility candles are great – not pillar candles)
- 2-4 Large, uncooked eggs (smooth, no cracks)
- One dozen pint-sized mason jars with lids: Narrow mouth – can be purchased in grocery stores, Walmart, Kmart, etc. Mix dyes according to packet directions (note: no vinegar in the orange dye) and allow to cool before putting lid on the jars. DON’T FORGET TO LABEL THE COLORS ON THE JARS)!
- Spoon (teaspoon is fine)
- Plain white paper towels
- Newspaper to cover work surface
- A spirit of adventure