Coloured with magical dyes and painted with magical symbols, eggs have played a central role in spring rites and feasts for thousands of years. From Egypt, Persia, Russia to Europe eggs were sacred objects embodying the essence of life. For northern European peoples eggs embodied the fertilizing power of the spring sun because it was when hens, cued by increasing light, began laying once again.



 The first coloured eggs have been found in Persia over 5000 years ago and today are still part of the spring new year festival of Nowruz, often painted red to symbolize the life-giving power of the sun. Today in the west decorating eggs have become associated with the Christian holiday of Easter but their origins as powerful talismans of fertility and abundance may stretch back to the goddess-worshipping cultures of the Neolithic!



 In Eastern Europe, these ritual eggs are today called Pysanka or Pisankin ( from the root word “to write”) and their creation is considered so important that folktales claim the world will cease to exist without them! Their rich language of design motifs can be traced back to the Trypillian culture of central and eastern Europe (5,500 BC to 3,000 BC). This peaceful, egalitarian culture evolved a language of symbols (called ideograms) considered one of the earliest forms of writing. Their pottery and homes were decorated inside and out with beautiful drawings and paintings whose design motifs of suns, stars, crescents, spirals, flowers, animals, and plants are still found on Pysanka today.

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When I was a kid, my favorite treats for Easter were hard boiled eggs. I liked them more than the candy.


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