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Toronto Catholic District School Board

  UKRANINIAN EASTER TRADITION - THE PYSANKA

 

Each year under the guidance of our Ukrainian Heritage Language teacher students have workshops on writing Pysanky. The pysanka(singular) is an art form dating back into ancient times. To create an pysanka, wax is used to create the design on the egg starting with white and moving through to the darkest colour, black. The motifs and colours all have meaning.
 
The pysanka is placed in the Easter basket along with eggs, salt, horseradish, butter, cheese, ham, kobasa, Paska and candle to be blessed on Easter morning after the Resurection Liturgy. It is to break the Great Lent Fasting. 
 
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Here are some legends about the pysanka
Christian legends One legend concerns the Virgin Mary. It tells of the time Mary gave eggs to the soldiers at the cross. She entreated them to be less cruel to her son and she wept. The tears of Mary fell upon the eggs, spotting them with dots of brilliant color.
Another legend tells of when Mary Magdalene went to the sepulchre to anoint the body of Jesus. She had with her a basket of eggs to serve as a repast. When she arrived at the sepulchre and uncovered the eggs, the pure white shells had miraculously taken on a rainbow of colors.
A common legend tells of Simon the peddler, who helped Jesus carry his cross on the way to Calvary. He had left his goods at the side of the road, and, when he returned, the eggs had all turned into intricately decorated pysanky.
Pre-Christian legend:
The Hutsuls - Ukrainians who live in the Carpathian mountains of Western Ukraine - believe that the fate of the world depends upon the pysanka. As long as the egg decorating custom continues, the world will exist. If for any reason this     custom is abandoned, evil - in the form of a horrible monster who is forever chained to a mountain cliff - will overrun the world. Each year this monster-serpent sends out his henchmen to see how many pysanky have been created. If the number is low, the serpent's chains are loosened and he is free to wander the earth causing havoc and destruction. If, on the other hand, the number of pysanky has increased, the chains are tightened and good triumphs over evil for yet another year. https://www.dhsparish.com/Pysanky.html
 

 

 
 
 
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