Ukrainian Easter Eggs! I’m sure you are wondering how I came up with this particular subject. Well, as you probably know, Easter is on Sunday and I guess I am getting old–ok, I KNOW I’m getting old. 😉 Holidays seem to get me reminiscing about family and times gone by. We lived in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania when I was young where my mom, grandmother and aunts used to make pysanky (pronounced pih-san-kee) for Easter.
So what is a pysanka? It’s an egg that is decorated with wax to cover portions of the eggshell to make a design. As you work, you dip it into different colored dyes starting with the lightest shade first. More wax is applied during this process to make very intricate designs. These eggs can be very beautiful. I found a LearnPysanky site and when I searched on Pinterest, (click HERE), I came up a LOT of examples of these beautiful eggs. The eggs that my family made were not quite as decorative as the ones that are pictured and they were always hard boiled which are technically called krashanky, but to my family and many others they are still called pysanky. I checked this fact out with my Aunt Olga tonight just to be sure that I was remembering correctly. She is almost 83 and LOVES talking about and remembering the old days. Read below for more of our Easter traditions.
It was a tradition to have the priest bless the Easter basket. This is still done by folks today. When I was very young he would travel from home to home blessing the baskets. Now-a-days, the baskets are taken to the priest where he blesses all of them at once. What did my grandma put into her wicker basket to be blessed. It was usually the ingredients below:
- Paska (Ukrainian Easter Bread) – This is the centerpiece of the basket because it symbolizes Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life. It is a sweet bread decorated with braids or crosses. I found a lot of recipes as I searched but I liked the one on this blog. It looks so much like what Bubba used to make. Click HERE.
- Sunka (ham) – Sunka is symbolic within an Easter basket of the great joy that comes with the Easter season and the rising of the Lord.
- Kielbasa (or sausage) – This is a symbol of God’s generosity towards true believers.
- Hrudka (egg cheese) – This is a custard-type cheese made from eggs and shaped into a ball. This represents the moderation that Christians should have in all things. Click HERE for a recipe.
- Slanina (bacon) – a piece of uncooked slab bacon is symbolic of the overabundance of God’s mercy.
- Butter – it reminds us of the goodness of Christ that we should have toward all things.
- Salt – This condiment enhances flavor reminding the Christian of his duty to others.
- Horseradish – sometimes this potent horseradish is mixed with beets, symbolic of the Passion of Christ.
- Pysanky (hard boiled eggs) – the decorated eggs are the perfect indication of new life and the risen Christ.
If there was more to this, I honestly don’t remember but it was a lovely memory for both me and Aunt Olga today. The family members that carried on this tradition are long gone but remembered with lots of love.
Happy Easter to those of you that celebrate this holiday.