The Language of Ukrainian Easter Eggs

By Shauna Rudd

Ukrainian Easter eggs, or pysanky, may be admired for their ornate, mosaic-like designs and vibrant colours, but they’re much more than just pretty. “First, they’re not actually painted,” says Edmonton pysanka artist Tanya Bidulka, “they’re written.” Each pattern and colour is symbolic, and the intricate designs, which the artists pen in beeswax, carry specific messages. “A circle that goes around the entire egg means eternal life,” says Bidulka. Green represents spring, new growth and hope, and yellow means light, purity and happiness. “It’s a bit of a dying art,” says Bidulka, but the Alberta Council for the Ukrainian Arts in Edmonton and Kensington Art Supply in Calgary are committed to preserving the tradition. Both offer pysanka workshops in March.

Published in Westworld Alberta, Spring 2015

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