Easter eggs are the quintessential symbol of spring, especially in Eastern Europe, where the decoration of Easter eggs is an important cultural practice. Eggs are decorated in a variety of ways; some techniques vary by region or country. Explore some of the ways that Easter eggs are decorated in Eastern Europe below:
Batik or Wax-Resist Method
The wax-resist or batik method of decorating Easter eggs is the most popular in Eastern Europe. Eggs are colored in geometric or organic patterns using beeswax, which resists the dye the eggs are then bathed in. Carefully layering wax and dye enables expert egg artists to achieve sophisticated, precise designs.
Some eggs are dyed a single color and no wax is used to create designs on the surface. The most popular color of dyed eggs in Eastern Europe is the red egg, which symbolizes the blood of Christ in the most modern interpretation. Dyes created from materials in nature, such as plant matter, were originally used to dye Easter eggs. Today, synthetic dyes are typically used to produce deep, consistent colors. Sometimes leaves or flowers are pressed to the side of the egg and held in place with thin, stretchy fabric. The plant fragment leaves its imprint on the surface of the egg where the dye has been unable to penetrate.
Egg artists from countries such as Poland use intricate paper cuts to decorate eggs. Traditional images – roosters, flowers, leaves – are cut from colored paper and pasted on the eggs. This egg-decorating technique is called wycinanki.
Some Easter eggs have designs scratched into the dyed surface. The scratch marks may show flower bouquets or other images, or they may create designs similar to the geometric patterns of wax-resist eggs. Some eggs even display a combination of scratching and wax-resist methods.
Eggs encased in delicate wire cages can be found in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The artists versed in this technique weave thin wires in various patterns over the empty egg shells, forming an egg-shaped frame.
Carved or Drilled Eggs
A rare type of Easter egg has its shell drilled, carved, or punctured to create a design. This technique capitalizes upon the already fragile nature of the egg shell, making it appear delicate and lacy.
Beaded eggs can also be found in Eastern Europe. In Romania, in particular, eggs are sometimes painstakingly covered with tiny seed beads to form geometric images.