April 24, 2011
Why Do We Decorate Eggs For Easter?
The birth of the Easter egg as we know it officially began in the Ukraine over a thousand years ago. Non-Christian egg decorating is much, much older. Ukrainians invented a unique and elaborate egg decoration art form, known as pysanka that likely dates back to ancient times. A pysanka is not just any kind of decorated egg, rather it is an egg created by the written-wax batik method. In pre-Christian times, Ukrainians worshipped a sun God by the name of Dazboh. During annual spring festivals, which held to celebrate the Sun God, the egg was the symbol of the earth’s rebirth following winter.
Ukrainians adopted Christianity in the year 988, which was the year that Vladimir the Great instated it as the official state religion. Since then it has remained the dominant religion, however it has been blended with some Byzantine practices and Slavic mythology. The spring egg decorating was one of the traditions that gradually merged into Christianity. The symbolism behind the egg was changed. Instead of nature’s rebirth, the Christian egg came to represent the rebirth of Christ. The shell of the egg was likened to the tomb of Christ for which He rose. Over time, Christian symbols started being incorporated into these pysankas and the Easter egg was born.