Pysanky: What Are They?

Different Types of Pysanky (Easter Eggs)


Pysanka specifically alludes to an egg created by the written-wax batik method, incorporating traditional folk designs and symbols. Many other types of decorated eggs exist in Ukrainian tradition, varying across the regions of Ukraine.

  • Krashanky –from krasyty, “to decorate”– are boiled eggs dyed a single color (with vegetable dyes). They are blessed and eaten at Easter.
  • Pysanky –from pysaty, “to write”– are raw eggs created with the wax-resist method. The designs are “written” in hot wax with a pinhead or a special stylus called a pysachok (писачок) or a kistka (кістка) which has a small funnel attached to hold a small amount of liquid wax. The name comes from the Ukrainian verb pysaty, which means “to write”.
  • Krapanky –from krapka, “a dot”– are raw eggs decorated using the wax-resist method, but with only dots as ornamentation. They are traditionally created by dripping molten wax from a beeswax candle onto an egg. They can be considered the simplest version of a pysanka.
  • Dryapanky –from dryapaty, “to scratch”– are created by scratching the surface of a dyed egg to reveal the white shell below.
  • Malyovanky –from malyuvaty, “to paint”– are created by painting a design with a brush using oil or water colour paints. It is sometimes used to refer to colouring on an egg.
  • Nakleyanky –from kleyaty, “to glue on”– are created by glueing objects to the surface.
  • Travlenky –from travlenya, “etching” – are created by waxing eggs and then etching away the unwaxed areas.
  • Biserky –from biser, “beads”– are created by coating an egg with beeswax, and then embedding beads into the wax to create geometric designs.
  • Lystovky –from lystya, “leaves”– are created by dyeing an egg to which small leaves have been attached.

All but the krashanky and lystovky are usually meant to be decorative as opposed to edible, and the egg yolk and white are either allowed to dry up over time, or removed by blowing them out through a small hole in the egg.


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