Pysanka, Ukrainian Easter egg, is absolutely unique.

Pysanka (from the word “pysaty,” to paint or decorate) is a Ukrainian Easter egg, decorated with traditional symbols using wax and dyes ( natural or artificial).
Pysanka is made using the shell of a raw chicken egg. First, a pencil sketch of the desired pattern is drawn on the empty egg. Then beeswax is melted in a small jar, and it is used to draw lines over the outlines with the help of a special pencil-like tool called a “pysachok.” The egg is next dipped into dye, placed in an oven, and then the melted wax is removed. The parts which were covered by wax remain undyed, thus showing a pattern of white lines.


A pysachok is a unique tool with a wooden handle and a metal, usually copper or brass, cone-reservoir to hold melted wax. For better heat retention, the cone is often further wrapped in metal wire. The diameter of the cone opening depends on the artist’s preferences and varies from 0.3 to 0.7 mm.
In Ukraine, just like in other eastern European countries, the easiest-tomake decorated Easter eggs are most common. For example, “krashanky” (from “krasyty,” to dye) is a hard-boiled egg dyed in onion peel, which turns it a reddish-brown color. For other colors, instead of onion, use beet juice (for pink and burgundy), birch leaves (for yellow-green), nettle or spinach (for green), oak bark (for black), and others.

Pysanka 2

In the Orthodox Church, it is believed that a brightly decorated egg is a symbol of the Holy Spirit and the rebirth of believers by “the blood of Christ” because red symbolizes the blood of Jesus. However, there is an opinion, though not yet proven by scholars, that pysanka and krashanka are traditional pagan symbols. In pre-Christian times, Slavic peoples associated eggs with the spring revival of nature and fertility.
Pysanka is so popular in Ukraine that even a special museum was opened in Kolomyia. It has more than 12,000 Easter eggs and other decorated eggs from all over Ukraine and other parts of the world.

Vladimir Nevzorov


This article was published in the book Interesting Ukraine.
You could download this book in PDF file for free here.

© Sky Horse Publishing House (Kyiv) / Nahs Haus, 2019
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