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Eggsquite eggs created through 'pysanky'

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Easter celebrates life, whether in the religious context of Christ rising from the dead, or the symbol of the Easter egg representing birth.

While the common tradition of coloring eggs for the bunny to deliver to baskets on Easter morning involves a simple process of cooking eggs, an assortment of dye baths the eggs are dipped into, and an array of decorative stickers and stencils to create various patterns on the shells, the Ukranian tradition of pysanky is much more intricate.

And it can take hours to create these masterpieces.

Pysanky is to eggs, as is batik to cloth - a process of applying beeswax and dye in alternating turns to yield a particular design.

According to some reports, unlike hard-cooked eggs used by most people for coloring, eggs used for pysanky are uncooked. This makes the process more delicate, as the uncooked eggshell is a more delicate surface on which to draw designs.

A tool called a stylus, or kistka, is used to apply the hot wax to the egg to create the initial layer, leaving the layer under the wax white. The egg is then dyed its first color.

Subsequent layers of wax and dye - going from light to dark colors - are applied, until the final layer is reached - and most often is black.

According to www.wikipedia.org, not all eggs dyed using this 'wax resist' method are called pysanky eggs. Pysanky egg designs involve specific Ukranian folk designs.

The Greenville Inn Blog, www.thegreenvilleinn.wordpress.com, features a detailed account of a mother-daughter relationship and the process of creating pysanky eggs, and the skill required.

So, with the Easter bunny arriving tomorrow, there's not much time left to test out your talents for creating your very own pysanky eggs. And perhaps you might consider breaking the tradition, just this once, by using a hard-cooked egg instead of an uncooked one.

Either way, it will make for an exciting experiment to share with the family.

Happy Easter to all.

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