Pysanky – backyard poultry

The art of Ukrainian writing on eggs

The Kenny Coogan Story. Photo by Joanna “Zenobia” Krynicki

“All of Eastern Europe has a long history of coloring eggs,” Johanna Zenobia Krynicki tells me. The Krynytzky family is from western Ukraine, and is a first-generation Ukrainian-American. I met her by contacting a local Ukrainian church to find out more about the elaborate pysanky eggs that are popular at Easter.

Pysanky eggs
Krynytzky was fascinated by pysanky as a major in art history and anthropology. She said it was a perfect marriage of the two types.

“Pysanky (plural of pysanka) is really being embraced as a symbol of Ukrainian nationalism,” explains Krynytzky. Krinitsky, who learned this skill from her grandmother and mother, would perform art with her sisters and friends at ethnic fairs, dressed in traditional costumes. She told me that when the Soviet Union invaded, they banned
Coloring Easter eggs In addition to banning the native language of Ukraine,
Culture and religion. Her family came to the United States after World War II, like many Ukrainians. The diaspora took it upon themselves to continue
Pysanca tradition.

“They think it started in the Bronze Age of the Trebil culture (5,000 to 2,700 BC). They don’t have any eggs from that era, but they do have
The ceramic egg has the same designs we see today.” The oldest is intact
An egg found in Ukraine is about 500 years old and is a goose egg, she told me.

“Before the Christian era, eggs were used to honor nature and all seasons,” Krynytzky adds. They used crosses in all four directions. Raindrops, gods and goddesses, horns of goats, trees and chickens were all written on the eggs. Christianity captured many of these. In the Byzantine era, they adopted those as Christian symbols, so now the raindrops are the Tears of Mary, and the Tree of Life continues to spread. The deer and the goats went on, and the stars were now the Star of Bethlehem.”

These decorative eggs weren’t just used for Easter. They were made during the dark winter nights in hopes of the return of spring. In addition to Easter egg baskets, during the Middle Ages, young women were also made
A decorated egg and presented it to the boy you love. He would run home and bring it to his mother for approval! His mother would check her work and then decide whether she would make a good wife.

Pysanky will also be used in burials. In addition, they would be placed in the eaves of houses for good luck or crushed for livestock. Gifts are given throughout the year, and a bowl of them in every home means that the house is well protected.

Pysanky is a family affair and also varies from region to region.

“Today, they were blown out, but sometimes they were dried just for preservation. Highly decorated pysanka were never meant to be eaten,” says Krynitsky. Krashanka are soft-boiled eggs that were also included in Easter egg baskets. They were colored from A vegetable dye that is one color and was meant to be eaten, although it certainly isn’t as pretty as Pysanka’s.

Wax writing on the egg is traditionally done by candlelight. Kistka is the instrument used to write it, historically made of bone, with a funnel attached to it. The artist heats the wax over the candle. The development of art, kistka made of plastic, wood and metal, and today there is an electric kistka!

“Every region in Ukraine has a different style,” says Krynytzky. “Some are organic and others are very geometric. In the mountains, they are more geometric; the people in the plains and steppes of Ukraine have more organic designs, are not so evenly divided, and are freer.”
Although they can be given as gifts throughout the year, they are now used primarily for Easter. In Ukrainian churches, you will see stacked baskets piled high with embroidered clothes. The priest blesses all the baskets. “It is placed with traditional bread (paska and babka), krachanka, fresh or smoked sausage, some other meats, cheese and chocolate.”

The 1992 Easter blessing in which Kretzky participated, near the city of Nadverna, Ukraine.

Krynytzky offers various workshops in town and recommends looking for ukrainian churches or pysanky egg classes to learn more. She says there is a whole art to how to crack an egg the right way. And although some Ukrainians who live in the mountains allow their eggs to dry naturally, if you live in a warm environment, they might explode — which would be awful after spending hours, maybe days, decorating.

“Some people decorate it and then blow it up — but it’s a gamble,” she warns. “I have an empty ostrich egg, but I haven’t decorated yet. It will take hours.”

“Ukrainians are all artists,” says Krynitsky. “We are all pretty much all singing, dancing, painting, or embroidering.” When she’s not creating pysanky for fun or gifts or for pysanky for peace, she’s running and managing the Hip Expressions Belly Dance Studio.

“Zenobia was the original Warrior Princess Xena, and it’s also my mother’s middle name. When I became a professional belly dancer in Chicago, it was fashionable to have a stage name, so I took my stage name as my mother’s middle name.”

According to Pysanky For Peace, Hutzuls – Ukrainians living in
Carpathian Mountains – We believe that the fate of the world depends on pysanky. In this effort, they aim to create and raise 100,000 people in order to raise money for the people of Ukraine and eventually deliver it to the people of Ukraine after peace finds its way home.

Pysanka means “writing”. Each symbol and color represents something specific. The lines and waves circling the eggs represent eternity and the cycle of life. Consider adding these additional shapes and colors to your designs this year.

Each egg has a meaning, depending on the set of symbols used.

black – Eternity and darkness before dawn
white Purity, innocence, birth
brown – Mother Earth, generous gifts
red – work, fire, passion, love
orange Power and ambition
yellow Light, purity and youth
green Spring, renewal, fertility, freshness
blue Blue sky, good health, true
purple Faith, patience and wisdom
pink Fertility, elegance and tranquility
Korn – Prepare for the future
Basket – Motherhood, the gift of life and endowments
bees – Pollinators harvest well
the birds Never drawn in flight, always at ease. A harbinger of spring and fertility
pass – Pre-Christian: Symbols of Life, Four Directions; Christianity: Symbol of Christ
Diamond – knowledge
DOTS / Mary’s Tears – From grief unexpected blessings
Evergreen tree – health, stamina, eternal youth FLOWERPOT – love, charity, goodwill
Grape vine Strong and faithful love
Chicken feet/chicken prints Youth protection
Beehive Sweetness and abundance
Centuries – Nobility, wisdom and victory
horse – Boom, endurance and speed
insects Rebirth, good harvest
RAM – Masculine, leadership and perseverance
ROOSTER’S / ROOSTERS’ COMB – Masculine, rich married life
world Wide Web Patience and skill
STAG/DEER Wealth, prosperity and leadership
sun – The symbol of life is the love of God
Sunflower Love of God and love of the sun
Tree of the life When painted with four seasons, it represents renewal and creativity
Triangles – Pre-Christian: Air, Fire and Water Christian: Holy Trinity
Wolf’s teeth Loyalty, strong fist

KENNY COOGAN He is a national food, farm and flower columnist. He is also part of the MOTHER EARTH NEWS and FRIENDS podcast cast. He has a master’s degree in global sustainability and leads workshops on owning chickens, vegetable gardening, animal training, and corporate team building. his new book, Florida carnivorous plantsAvailable at

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