Pisanka Decorated Easter Egg

Pisanka Decorated Easter Egg

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Hard boiled and painted eggs, are traditional Easter egg decorations called pisanka in Poland and Pysanka in the Ukraine. They are made to be exchanged at Easter to symbolize new life. The eggs traditionally blend geometric symbols that represent fertility, protection, and the natural world with emblems of Christianity.
Object Name
Egg, Easter
egg, decorated
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of J. Pastushenko
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Cultural and Community Life: Ethnic
Many Voices, One Nation
Many Voices, One Nation
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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Pisanki/pisanky originated in pre-Christian times among Slavic people with their native faiths. Slavic people were nature worshippers for eons prior to the spread of Christianity. This is well documented both with world history as well as Slavic traditions. Christianity did not make it's way to Slavic lands until roughly the 10th century give or take. These people were nature worshippers and have an entire Slavic pantheon and traditions that were quite absorbed (or rather, appropriated) by Christianity.
This decorated Easter egg looks EXACTLY like the ones my grandmother, mother, and I used to make for Ukrainian Easter celebrations. The geometric figures are so typical of Ukrainian folk art, with a sense of timelessness defining the designs. We made our eggs in the mid 1950s through the late 1960s. Glad to see that this egg is preserved for subsequent generations, Ukrainian-Americans and everyone else.

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