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14 Apr. 2024

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An indispensable symbol of Easter: what is the uniqueness of Ukrainian pysanky

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An indispensable symbol of Easter: what is the uniqueness of Ukrainian pysanky

Ukrainian pysanky is one of the main symbols of Orthodox Easter. As you know, on the day of the holiday people organise egg beating competitions, but pysanky is intended for something completely different. It is a work of art that is unique in different regions of the country and is considered a kind of symbol for believers. Learn the history of this tradition and other interesting facts

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Pysanky are not just brightly coloured Easter eggs, they are a unique symbol of Ukrainian culture, history and spirituality. Each pysanky is a work of art that carries deep meaning and millennia-old traditions. In this article, we will dive into the world of Ukrainian pysanky, explore their history, meaning, regional peculiarities and many other amazing facts.


The history of pysanky goes back to the pre-Christian era, when the egg symbolize rebirth and new life. Later, with the advent of Christianity on Ukrainian lands, pysanka acquired new symbolic meanings associated with the Resurrection of Christ and the Easter holiday. Over the centuries, the tradition of making pysanky has been passed from generation to generation, enriching and transforming.


Ukrainian pysanky are not only beautiful objects. Each element, each pattern on a pysanky has its own meaning. Geometric figures, plant and animal motifs, crosses - all these are symbols of health, fertility, love, prosperity and protection from evil. The process of creating pysanky also has a deep spiritual meaning, symbolising meditation, prayer and immersion in oneself.


What kind of pysanky are there in Ukrainian culture


Ukraine is a country with rich traditions and cultural differences, which is reflected in the art of pysanky.


For example, in Western Ukraine, pysanky with geometric patterns and strict symmetrical shapes prevail. In Central Ukraine one can more often meet plant and floral motifs. Southern regions give preference to brighter and more saturated colours, while eastern regions prefer simpler and more symbolic patterns.


Among the numerous regional variations and techniques, a special place is occupied by:


• "Krapanka" pysanky, where patterns are applied to the egg using wax and paint in a dot-by-dot manner.

• "Dryapanki" - a technique where the paint is scraped off the painted egg, exposing the white shell and creating a pattern.

• "Malevanki", when the egg is completely covered with a pattern using a brush.

• "Krashanky" - eggs dyed in different colours with dyes.




The Easter holiday in Ukraine is unthinkable without pysanky. They are not only a decoration of the festive table, but also a symbol of rebirth, love and hope. By the way, if you did not know, a pysanky given with love can bring happiness, health and prosperity to the house.




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Differences of pysanky by regions


In the Kapatsky region, namely in Boykivshchyna, Lemkivshchyna, Hutsulshchyna, Pokutya, Kosivshchyna, one- and two-tone pysanky were preferred: red, yellow, orange, green, blue and white. But black colour is rare here. The Easter eggs are usually decorated with suns, stars, crosses and roses, better known here as roses.


At the same time in Bukovina geometric ornaments and mostly large designs are popular. Among the ornaments popular here are stripes and rosettes depicted on a dark red or black background.


The inhabitants of Prykarpattya love yellow, orange, red and black colours. There are many colourful elements on local pysanky. In particular, there are images of churches and crosses, swastikas and crucifixes with a schematically depicted person.


Pysanky of Podillya are rather restrained. Usually they are made black, which symbolises fertile land. Other dark colours like purple or brown are also used. The pattern itself is painted in black, red and white. Yellow and green are used less frequently. Among the patterns here you can find those that decorate rushniki, embroidery and pottery.


In the north of Ukraine they like geometric ornaments of green, red and yellow colours. The pysanky of Polesie most often depicts geometric ornaments, symmetrically distributing them on separate fields. Often roses are drawn on the eggs.


In the eastern and north-eastern regions of Ukraine masters combine geometric and vegetal ornaments, using saturated colours.




Meaning of pysanky for Ukrainians


The Easter holiday in Ukraine is unthinkable without pysanky. They are not only a decoration of the festive table, but also a symbol of rebirth, love and hope. Gifted with love, pysanky can bring happiness, health and prosperity to the house.


Remember that pysanka in Ukraine is much more than just an Easter egg. It is a cultural heritage, a bearer of unique traditions and a symbol of the rich spiritual life of the Ukrainian people. By preserving and passing from generation to generation the ability to create these unique works of art, Ukrainians preserve their identity and cultural roots.


We remind you! In Ukraine, Orthodox and Catholics in 2024 celebrate Easter on completely different dates, despite the country's transition to a new church calendar. What affects the calculations of the day of the Resurrection of Christ and why the two denominations still have different dates, we tell you here.


Want to know more? Read the latest news and useful materials about Ukraine and the world in the News section.




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