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, plural: pysanky) is a Ukrainian Easter egg, decorated with traditional Ukrainian folk designs using a wax-resist method.
The word pysanka comes from the verb pysaty, "to write", as the designs are not painted on, but written with beeswax.
As in many ancient cultures, Ukrainians worshipped a sun god, Dazhboh.
The egg was also honored during rite-of-Spring festivals––it represented the rebirth of the earth.
The long, hard winter was over; the earth burst forth and was reborn just as the egg miraculously burst forth with life.
Eggs decorated with nature symbols became an integral part of spring rituals, serving as benevolent talismans.
In pre-Christian times, Dazhboh was one of the major deities in the Slavic pantheon; birds were the sun god's chosen creations, for they were the only ones who could get near him.
and was found in a rainwater collection system that dates to the 15th or 16th century.
The pysanka was written on a goose egg, which was discovered largely intact, and the design is that of a wave pattern.
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.
They base this on the widespread nature of the practice, and pre-Christian nature of the symbols utilized.
No ancient examples of intact pysanky exist, as the eggshells of domesticated fowl are fragile, but fragments of colored shells with wax-resist decoration on them were unearthed during the archaeological excavations in Ostrówek, Poland, (near the city of Opole), where remnants of a Slavic settlement from the early Piast Era were found.
Since Ukrainian Independence in 1991, there has been a rebirth of this folk art in its homeland, and a renewal of interest in the preservation of traditional designs and research into its symbolism and history.