Easter egg history

Easter eggs

It's not really a mystery why eggs were chosen to represent rebirth at springtime. Decorated eggs during the season are part of a tradition that predates the Christian religion. NPR's The Salt delves into the symbolism and beauty of Easter eggs, including pysanky, the gorgeously decorated Ukrainian eggs.

While most traditions involved colored or simply decorated eggs, psyanky designs are spectacularly elaborate. In this process, the eggs are decorated using a traditional method that involves a stylus and wax. "There's an ancient legend that as long as pysanky are made, evil will not prevail in the world," says Joan Brander, a pysanky artist in Richmond, B.C. She's been making pysanky for more than 60 years, having learned the art of the egg from her Ukrainian relatives.

The designs are not only beautiful, they are also symbolic. "A pysanka with a bird on it, [when] given to a young married couple, is a wish for children," Brander explains. Pysanky artists used to be secretive about their work, but the Internet age has opened up the process and collaboration is becoming more common. View the NPR blog to see some exquisite designs and learn more about the traditions and symbolism.

Photo of How to dye Easter eggs using vegetable scraps from indexed blog Food52.

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