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Traditional Ukrainian Easter eggs display a breathtaking variety of designs and colors based on regional variations. Animal motifs were thought to endow people with strength, wealth and prosperity, and their livestock with health and fertility. The meander symbolized eternity. It was believed that pysanky containing plant motifs had the power to produce a good harvest. These designs were handed down through generations from mother to daughter, as only women were allowed to decorate Easter eggs.


Colors also had meaning for pysanka writers. White represented purity; pysanky with white fields were given to children because their lives were blank pages waiting to be filled. Green symbolized health and the rebirth of spring; red was the color of the sun god; blue represented the sky; brown was for the earth and black denoted the afterlife. A black and white pysanka showed respect for the departed souls of loved ones. Egg dyes made from plants, roots, bark and berries were prepared according to secret recipes that were also passed from mother to daughter.

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