Natalia, who specializes in butterflies

This year, at the Ukrainian school, we decided to make pysankarstvo a formal part of the school curriculum (as it has become in manyschools in Ukraine).  I taught basic pysanka-making and symbolism (the latter to the older students during the time allotted for religion class) over three Saturdays. 

I put together a bilingual pysanka handout for the kids, with sections on pysanka legends, symbolism and a simple “how-to” guide.  I added a few pages with blanks eggs, and a set of pysanky to color.  We used the blank eggs in class to design our own pysanky after learning about the symbols and what they mean.  (You can download the handout here.)  Lizzie, my friend Loraine’s daughter, had memorized all of the symbols in one week – she is quite the scholar!

There was time to make real pysanky as well.  It was a bit easier, although more frantic, with the older kids, as they had mostly made them before.  Some I had to help by drawing out lines for them with pencil, showing them how to hold and use the stylus and, in one case, doing a lot of the work as her egg dropped and broke when it was nearly finished!

WIth the younger kids – our kindergartners and pre-schooler – a bit more basic education was required, but each had an adult accompanying them and helping them.  It was best that way, as there were open flames and combustible materials everywhere!  They took to it with great enthusiasm.

After all the work was done (with only four broken egg, three of them rolling off the table), I took the pysanky home and finished some, removed the wax on all, varnished them and emptied them.  The children – and their parents – ended up with lovely keepsakes. You can view them here.

  2006        2008

St. Mary’s 2007

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