In many parts of the world one finds ancient myths in which the Egg features as a symbol of the Sun, Spring and Revival of Nature. Ethnologists of the 20th century have discovered that the ancient beliefs of many peoples regarded the Egg of Light as a source from which the world had sprung, developing from Chaos to Order. Pisanki were most popular in Eastern countries, particularly in Poland, The Ukraine and Russia.
Christianity imbued the painted egg with new meanings transforming it into the Easter egg and giving it a new symbolism but it could not totally eradicate the elements of pagan beliefs associated with the painted egg. Easter eggs, blessed in church by a priest, were continued to be used as a sort of charm for many different occasions: to be placed under the corner stone of a house; to help making bees to give more honey; to guard against misadventure on a journey; to secure happiness in marriage; to promote multiplication in the animal, floral and human worlds, to a name but a few of its functions
A sign of fertility, the egg plays an important part in the ancient tradition and history of Poland. Throughout the years, the egg was associated with traditions involving the beginning of Spring, the birth of new life, and the fertility and growth of abundant crops and livestock. Not only that, but colourful and decorated eggs, "pisanki" were given as gifts during a Polish courtship. Traditionally, the eggs were coloured and decorated by the women of the village on Holy Thursday or Good Friday.
Although the term pisanki has come to mean Easter eggs in general, strictly speaking it refers only to those eggs decorated with the molten-wax technique. Depending on how they were decorated, the eggs were called a variety of names...."malowane" or "kraszone" (solid coloured eggs), and "pisanki" (eggs with intricate patterns, images and inscriptions depicting the symbols of Easter, of life, of prosperity). Various regions have developed designs of their own, which include floral and geometric patterns, typical Easter motifs (the Lamb, Cross, pussy willow), the greeting, "Wesolego Alleluja," or simply "Alleluja" and the current year. These beautifully decorated eggs are placed in the swieconka on Holy Saturday as a symbol of new life and Christ's Resurrection from the tomb.
In Poland a lot of their original symbolic meanings have been forgotten. They are now predominantly used in the religious festivities of Easter and not as universal charms. Whatever your personal views and beliefs they remain a joy to the eye and an exiting field for ethnographic studies. Even those who do not care for pisanki prehistoric and Christian symbolism cannot help enjoying the art of pisanki.
You are viewing the English scaled down version of our website. The Polish version includes more articles as well as current notices and news.
You may find our Polish Newsletter "Biuletyn" of interest (available in Polish only):
Rok B Nr 142 Biuletyn 07.01.2018 (537 KB)
Rok B Nr 140 Biuletyn 03.12.2017 (906 KB)
Rok A Nr 138 Biuletyn16.10.2017 (356 KB)
Rok A Nr 137 Biuletyn15.09.2017 (332 KB)
ROK A - 135 - 02 08 2017 (807 KB)
Rok A Nr 131 Biuletyn 13.05.2017 (689 KB)
Rok A Nr 130 Biuletyn 23.04.2017 (802 KB)
Nr 128 Biuletyn 19-03-2017 (1491 KB)
Rok A Nr 127 Biuletyn (3527 KB)
Rok A Nr 126 Biuletyn (1202 KB)
Nr 125 Biuletyn 23-01-2017 (1326 KB)
Nr 117 Biuletyn 17-09-2016 (535 KB)
Biuletyn 10-04-2016 (837 KB)
Biuletyn 13-03-2016 (830 KB)
Biuletyn 14-02-2016 (884 KB)
Biuletyn 03-01-2016 (838 KB)
Biuletyn 06-09-2015 (876 KB)
Biuletyn Lipiec 2015 (913 KB)
Biuletyn 28-06-2015 (796 KB)
Biuletyn 21-06-2015 (744 KB)
Biuletyn 08-02-2015 (1359 KB)