Pagan Legends


Goya’s “Colossus”

Pagan Legends

Pagan legends about pysanky seem to be few–not many have survived the syncretic processes of Christianization.

The Hutzuls––Ukrainians who live in the Carpathian Mountains of Western Ukraine––believe that the fate of the world depends upon the pysanka. As long as the egg decorating custom continues, the world will exist. If, for any reason, this custom is abandoned, evil––in the shape of a horrible monster (often called Pekun) who is forever chained to a cliff–– will overrun the world. Each year the monster sends out his minions to see how many pysanky have been created. If the number is low the monster's chains are loosened and he is free to wander the earth causing havoc and destruction. If, on the other hand, the number of pysanky has increased, the chains are tightened and good triumphs over evil for yet another year.

(I have seen many versions of this legend in recent years. The more recent the version, the more detailed it seems to be. The earliest version of this legend that I have read can be found in Voropay.)

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