My Mom would make her extra beautiful Paskhas or Easter bread and her famous syrnyk (recipes can be found here) She would make her own sausage and I would share in making the colorful eggs to fill our basket with.We would go to all night mass and get our basket blessed by the priest.The Church would be filled with flowers and a symbol of a casket and it also gave people a colored egg at midnight, after Christ had risen followed by a procession around the block with people singing holding candles. The priest would then go and bless the baskets and people would exchange eggs with their friends.I remember the day when Easter was not very pleasant for me. I was around six and Pysanky Eggs were a treasured item in those days.. The old ladies made them and would not share the process they used to make them.The first time I saw a Pysanka Egg, I was mesmerized by its intricate beauty and I stared and stared not being able to get enough of it.But the old lady who owned the basket, shooed me away, as if my looking, harmed her eggs. I was heart broken and I vowed to myself that day, that if I ever learned how, I would make tons and give them to every one.
Well, we changed churches and the new church I went to, had very poor, simple baskets. No one decoratedthem like in the church that broke my heart.Then one day I met a Ukrainian girl who invited me to make them with her. I could not believe my good fortune!I did not give away my joy nor show her any evidence that I cared one way or another for fear she would see and change her mind but inside I was bursting.
So three of us sat and made one egg each.When I got home I bade my Mom get three dozen eggs and I began to make as many as I could, determined to elate as many people as I could Easter night, as I was when I first laid my eyes on these beautiful creations. I made three dozen eggs and then had time to make three dozen more. My hands were black from the egg color.The day finally came when my basket was presented on the table to be blessed. It was gorgeous!
This is the first time we did not put in eggs to be eaten but all these wonderful colorful Pysankys, all with a story to tell because the colors and symbols you use also tell a story of what the eggs wants to say to you.
The people did not know whose basket it was and brought my parents over to view this “beautiful basket” and they were secretly pleased but did not let on.
Then this huge group of hippies came over and I suddenly became so frightened they would steal the eggs because they were not from our church.They loved them and called them psychedelic. They were nice and only looked….. like I just wanted to look, some ten years back.
When it came time to exchange eggs, soooo many people came to our basket and we exchanged ours, for one of the edible ones.That was my best Easter ever!!! We came home with tons of edible eggs and they each got one beautiful one they could enjoy looking at, at home.
What I did that night was give people a little bit of joy and an incentive to take pride in their baskets. They began learning to make Pysanky’s, and/or have children stick stickers onto a colored egg. Easter became a joyful event in that church thereafter
Recently my cousin told me she still had a few of the eggs my Mom sent her that year. Gosh they must soooo old !!!!! loll
She said they were very fragile now and she was afraid to touch them in case they broke. I told her to spray them with shellac so they harden.
Wow! I can’t believe she still has them.This is a memory that still makes me smile today.