In honor of the Easter holiday let’s go on an egg hunt around the world! From Biblical accounts to elaborate designs the Easter egg has firmly held its place in holiday traditions. If you are searching for something new and different to add to your Easter décor or perhaps your brunch or dinner centerpiece read on…
The egg is widely viewed as a symbol of rebirth or new life in many traditions and religions. The ancient Egyptians, Persians, Phoenicians, and Hindus all believed the world began with an enormous egg, thus the egg as a symbol of new life has been around for eons. The belief that the egg symbolized re-birth were originally associated with a pagan tradition which gradually faded out, so that Easter eggs became incorporated in the Jewish Passover and Christian tradition of Easter. Christians used the Easter egg as a symbol of the rebirth of Christ. It is even said that Mary Magdalene brought eggs with her to Emperor Tiberius after the death of Christ.
The practice of decorating Easter eggs has a far reach over many continents. Many Americans use the basic dip and dye technique sometimes adding stickers or using a wax crayon to add designs. It has also become more popular to share eggs made of chocolate or plastic eggs containing candy or little gifts. However, there are some very intricate styles of decoration that I would like to explore with you.
The first (and quite possibly my favorite) is the Polish style of decorating eggs called Pisanki. The name Pisanki comes from the Polish verb pisac which means “to write”. When I was a young girl I went to an art focused school and around Easter time we would learn how to use the Polish technique to create art masterpieces with the use of a funneled pen, some wax and some natural dyes made from vegetables like beets.
The basic steps to create a Pisanki style egg are as followed:
- Remove the egg yolks and whites by using a toothpick and poking small holes in the top and bottom of the egg then blowing the insides out. If you plan to eat the eggs you can skip this step and simply hard boil them and let them cool.
- Take the funneled pen and using melted max create the design you wish to use on your egg.
- Dip your wax decorated egg in the colors that you like. Allow them to dry
- Melt the wax off the egg by holding over a candle flame.
Another form of the Pisanki which is also very common at Easter time are the krashanky. It comes from the verb – krasyty – to color, to dye. The eggs are dyed a one single color. Years ago Ukrainians used various varieties of plant material to color the eggs. A very popular method even now is to save onions skins for any months and then boil them in water. The eggs are dropped in later, boiled and turn out various shades of brown. They are also decorated with detailed designs.
It would be unfair to talk about Easter egg art without talking about the famed Russian technique of Faberge. Originally created for the Russian Imperial Court by the House of Faberge, a Faberge is an exquisitely decorated egg that features precious medals and jewels. Many of the Faberge eggs also had hidden surprises inside such as miniature ships and delicate glass or crystal scenes. Today true Faberge eggs sell for thousands of dollars and are regarded as masterpieces in the jeweler trade.
Pace eggs are an old British tradition and method of coloring and dying eggs to be boiled and eaten on Good Friday and throughout the Easter weekend. The name “Pace” comes from the Latin “Pacha” which means Easter. The traditional way of coloring Pace eggs uses the coloring from red onion skins to create a reddish gold marbling on the eggs. In some parts of Britain – mainly Lancashire, Pace eggs are rolled down a hill, the winner being the owner of the egg which goes the furthest and has the least amount of cracks or breaks in it. Another popular game is to use one’s egg to hit their opponents egg. The winner is the last egg standing. It is also traditional to give one of these eggs to family and friends throughout the Easter weekend as a token of goodwill. Learn more about Pace Eggs and Egging
Traced back to Macedonia, this process involves dying the egg, applying a layer of wax in a design, then bleaching off the color leaving only the wax-covered areas with color.
Folar Bread (Portuguese Easter Bread)
Folar is a traditional Portuguese bread that has a hard boiled egg hidden inside. This bread can be made sweet (which is how I have had it) or salty and is made and eaten for Passover and Easter. I have a good friend who’s mom makes this delicious bread every year and many of us are fortunate enough to receive a small loaf. Every region has its own recipe and style of making this bread but here are some links to some recipes you can try if you wish to taste Folar bread for yourself:
- Folar da Pascoa: Portugal’s Delicious Easter Bread
- Massa Sovada (Protuguese Sweet Bread)
- Recipe for Folar de Pascoa
Will you be decorating Easter eggs this year? If so what are your favorite ways to make the eggs unique? Tell us in the comments section below.