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Easter Eggs: From Symbolism to Art

Updated: Jul 28, 2023

The earliest known Easter eggs hail from Central Asian cemeteries. Originally, these eggs were left raw, symbolizing life and rebirth. Later, people started to imbue the eggs with colors, representing an awakening. White, traditionally associated with sorrow and death, was commonly used. However, red was the most popular choice for decorating the egg, symbolizing fire, blood, and youth. As time progressed, additional ornamental features were introduced to enhance the power of the red-painted eggs.

Red Easter egg with cross

According to Wikipedia, the church adopted the symbol of spring revival in the 12th century, introducing the consecration of Easter eggs. Within the Christian context, Easter eggs symbolize Jesus Christ's empty tomb. This symbolism was brought to Europe by the first Christians from Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Russia. The term 'Easter egg,' or 'kraslica' in Slovak, is believed to be derived from the Russian word "krasnyj," meaning red.

Old woman decorating an egg

Easter egg decoration has seen a variety of interesting techniques. Coloring the eggs with a decoction of onion peels or tree bark, applying wax to the eggshell (a foundational technique in batik) using a quill pen or a metal tube, and removing the egg's color with cabbage or acid are all traditional methods. More information can be found below.

3 red Easter eggs with drawn flowers

Other intriguing techniques include sanding and straw wrapping. For the latter, the straw needs to be boiled, cut, scraped inside with scissors, and ironed. A more modern approach is 'madeira' – drilling holes in the egg. Easter eggs can be created using various types of eggs including hen, duck, goose, and even ostrich eggs.

perforating an egg

How I work:

a painting of an easter bunny and egg
  1. Firstly, I have to empty the eggs. I create two holes at opposite ends and together with my family, we blow until the contents of the egg end up in a cup.

  2. After carefully cleaning and drying the eggs, I set them aside.

  3. It’s time for drilling process.

  4. I then soak the eggs in bleach, rinse thoroughly under running water, and allow them to dry.

  5. Using a pin, I apply wax to the egg, painting some of them with acrylic or glass paints.

egg decorating
easter eggs in blue and white colours
drilling holes in eggs

series of white hand-painted easter eggs

multi coloured easter eggs

white easter eggs with artificial flowers as a decoration

Each decorated egg is unique. Patience is key in egg decorating, as the egg is a fragile material. The complete production of one perforated egg takes about 50 minutes.

easter eggs with easter decoration of basket, chicks and goat willow

I hope you enjoy my work. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.

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