The incredible, edible egg! Contrary to rumors of strictly pagan origins, eggs have been associated with Judaism and Christianity for centuries. For example, at the Passover Seder a hard-boiled egg dipped in salt water symbolizes both new life and the Passover sacrifice offered at the Temple in Jerusalem. The truth is, almost every culture and religion has seen the egg as a symbol of the regenerative forces of nature. For more on this, click over to The Easter Egg on The Holiday Spot website.
Painting and dying eggs, whether a single color or elaborate design, has also been a tradition in a host of cultures across the globe, and not exclusive to Easter celebrations. That clarified, there is no doubt that the preeminence of Christianity in the western world lifted the coloring of Easter Eggs to a high level. To this day, coloring and decorating eggs (which are then hid and hunted by delighted children everywhere) is the number one activity associated with Easter. Over the centuries, decorating Easter Eggs has become an art form on equal par with any other, and as such, a great many are displayed in prestigious museums. In a later blog I will talk about the famed Fabergé Eggs. For today, I wanted to highlight the two biggest museums dedicated to decorated Easter eggs.
Ukrainian Easter eggs are known as “pysanka” and the elaborately decorated eggs are an expression of folk art with an ancient history and tradition. For the Ukrainians, the pysanka was believed to harbor the nucleus of life, the symbolic colors and designs drawn upon the egg according to traditional rituals and specific techniques. The beautifully artistic eggs were considered talismans for certain social and religious events, both to protect against evil and as harbingers of good.
The Pysanka Museum located in Kolomyia in Ukraine was built in 2000, dedicated to house a permanent collection of pysanka from the majority of the oblasts (administrative districts) dating from the 19th century onward.
The Pysanka Museum now possesses over 10,000 pysanky (the plural of pysanka) and is the world’s only museum dedicated to the Ukrainian Easter egg.
The building itself is in the shape of a giant pysanka, the concept by director Yaroslava Tkachuk, and designed by local artists Vasyl Andrushko and Myroslav Yasinskyi. Even the interior is painted to resemble a pysanka. In 2007 the museum was recognized as a landmark of modern Ukraine. The video below is rather long, but quite interesting. The image above links to the website, which is in Ukrainian but has lots of nice images.
EASTER EGG MUSEUM
The Easter Egg Museum in Ciechanowiec, Poland has more than 1900 eggs from all over the world, setting the world record for the largest collection of Easter eggs from across the globe. Established in 2004 by Irena Stasiewicz-Jasiukowa and Jerzy Jasiuk, the rare collection comes from every continent, except Antarctica. There are eggs from a wide variety of birds — finch, quail, chicken, goose and ostriches — that are decorated with wax, paint, color paper, bulrush, knitting wool, rice, and seeds. Additionally, there are man-made eggs of wood, metals, and other materials. Many of the decorating techniques are arts lost to history, the styles unique to the countries of origin.
The museum website is in Polish so not much help. The image above links to a Facebook travel site with 17 photos from the museum, and the short video below has more.
In blogs over the years I’ve delved into the historical aspects of Easter, all of which are linked in the Pemberley Library under “Other Holidays.”