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List of motifs and symbols found on pysanky

Pysanky symbols and motifs
Category Symbol Description
Shapes Star Purity, life, the giver of light, the center of all knowledge as well as beauty, elegance and perfection.
  Circle Completeness, continuity and the cyclical nature of the universe.
  Dots Stars in heaven, tears or fixed points that have no beginning or end.
  Triangle In pagan times; air, fire and water or the heavens, earth and air, for Christian it is the Holy Trinity.
  Diamond Or quadrilateral symbolize knowledge.
Lines Straight Encircling the egg symbolizes eternity or the continuous thread of life.
  Wavey Harmony and motion depicting infinity, waves and immortality.
  Zig-Zag Sun or life-giving heat also represents water or waves with its growth and cleansing properties.
  Spirals Mystery of life and death they denote divinity or immortality.
  Ladder Searching and rising above the petty problems of life.
  Sieve Ability to separate good from evil.
Cross Crossed lines Four ages of the world; child, youth, man and elder.
  Standing Cross In pagan times said to be a symbol of clan worship, and later incorporated into the Christian context.
  St. Andrew's X-shaped cross, St. Andrew was the patron saint who preached Christianity in Ukraine.
  Churches Simple stylized versions of wooden churches of the Carpathian mountains.
Plant Pine Tree Permanent greenery and endurance symbolize strength, boldness, growth and eternal life.
  Leaf Tree of life and symbol of renewal and creation of new life.
  Willow Willow branch repersents palm fronds in Ukrainian Easter and blessed on Palm Sunday.
  Grapes Continuity, good fellowship and strong, loyal love, also the wine of the Holy Communion and the love of God and of Christ.
  Fruit Orchard motifs denote knowledge, health and wisdom.
  Rose Femininity, wisdom. beauty and elegance.
  Lily of the Valley Purity and humility as typified in the young bride.
  Sunflower Love of God a symbol of life.
  Periwinkle Traditional wedding wreath and sacred plant of Venus the goddess of love it symbolized pure love and the eternity of the Holy Trinity.
  Cucumber Preservation of life because of its ability to retain water.
Animal Stag Leadership, victory, joy and masculinity.
  Horse Wealth or prosperity, endurance and speed, also the motion of the sun.
  Ram Leadership and strength in the face of opposition also suggests perseverance and dignity.
  Rooster Good fortune and a symbol of masculinity with a rich married life and many children.
  Hen Fertility and bearer of the eggs blessed with luck.
  Birds The swallow for the coming of spring; stork the coming of new babies; larks brought spring into the fields; nightingales announced spring to the orchards while ducks and geese brought spring to the lakes and rivers.
  Butterfly pleasure and frivolity of childhood and the ascent of the soul into immortality, also reminds us that things of delicate beauty must take their own course rather than be contained.
  Spider Patience, artistry and industry.
  Fish Symbol of Christianity, suggests abundance, baptism, regenerative powers and sacrifice.
  Hen's feet Protection of the earth toward her young and guidance or direction of the young in their search for knowledge.
  Goose Feet Soul or spirit as well as giving an intimation of warning of wakefulness.


Meaning of colors found on pysanky

Meaning of colors found on pysanky
Color Meaning
White Signified purity, light, rejoicing, virginity, innocence, and birth
Black A sacred color, it repersents absolute, constancy, eternity or the womb, associated with the "other world," and death but not in a negative sense.
Red Positive color signifying action, fire, charity, spiritual awakening also the sun and the joy of life and love and the hope of marriage. In the Christian symbolism, it denotes the divine love and passion of Christ.
Green Color of Christmas, Easter and Epiphany it reperesents breaking of shackles, freedom from bondage and the color of fertility, freshness, health and hopefulness. In the Christian context, it represents bountifulness, hope and the victory of life over death.
Blue Used sparingly it signifies the blue skies, life-giving air and good health. Also symbolizes truth, fidelity, higher life and trust.
Yellow Light, purity, youth, happiness, the harvest, hospitality, love and benevolence and is the Christian symbol of recognition and reward.
Orange Endurance, strength, worthy ambition also the color of fire and flame. It represents the red of passion with the yellow of wisdom and a symbol of the golden, everlasting sun.
Purple Fasting, faith, patience and trust.
Brown Color of mother earth, bringing life and gifts.

Types of decorated Ukrainian eggs

Types Ukrainian Easter Eggs
Egg Description
Krashanky (Крашанки) from krasyty (красити), "to decorate"– are boiled eggs dyed a single color (with vegetable dyes), and are blessed and eaten at Easter.
Pysanky (Писанки) from pysaty (писати), "to write"– are raw eggs created with the wax-resist method (batik). The designs are "written" in hot wax with a stylus or a pin-head. Wooden eggs and beaded eggs are often referred to as "pysanky" because they mimic the decorative style of pysanky in a different medium.
Krapanky (Крапанки) from krapka (крапка), "a dot"– are raw eggs decorated using the wax-resist method, but with only dots as ornamentation (no symbols or other drawings). They are traditionally created by dripping molten wax from a beeswax candle onto an egg.
Dryapanky (Дряпанки) from dryapaty (дряпати), "to scratch"– are created by scratching the surface of a dyed egg to reveal the white shell below.
Malyovanky (Мальованки) from malyuvaty (малювати), "to paint"– are created by painting a design with a brush using oil or water color paints. It is sometimes used to refer to coloring (e.g. with a marker) on an egg.
Nakleyanky (Наклеянки) from kleyaty (клеяти), "to glue on"– are created by glueing objects to the surface of an egg.
Travlenky (Травленки) from travlenya (травлення), “etching” – are created by waxing eggs and then etching away the unwaxed areas. This is not a traditional Ukraine practice, but has become popularized recently.
Biserky (Бісерки) from biser (бісер), "beads"– are created by coating an egg with beeswax, and then embedding beads into the wax to create geometric designs.
Lystovky (Листовки) from lystya (листя), "leaves"– are created by dyeing an egg to which small leaves have been attached.
Linyvky (Лінивки) from linyviy / лінивий, “lazy” - are created by using stickers or egg sleeves to decorate a hard-boiled egg. They are the “lazy man’s pysanka.” The word is a modern neologism, and is useful to describe the popular shrink-wrapped eggs that have become much more common in the past few years.