Ukraine, Estonia nominate Easter egg decorating tradition to UNESCO list

Pysanka. Source: Press material

Estonia and Ukraine have proposed adding Pysanka tradition of decorating Easter eggs to UNESCO's list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity. UNESCO is anticipated to make a decision by the end of 2024.

Pysanka is a Ukrainian Easter egg painting method that uses the wax resist technique, known as batik. The Pysanka eggs' designs are drawn in wax rather than painted. Ornaments and traditional national patterns are used, each with its unique meaning.

Minister of Culture Piret Hartman (SDE) said that the Pysanka tradition unites Ukrainians from all over the world and also holds a special place in the Estonian Ukrainian community: "These customs are important also for the refugees who have found a temporary home here as a result of the war with Russia, so they can maintain contact with their homeland and culture."

"Even during times of war, the Pysanka tradition unites Ukrainians from all over the world," said Bogdan Lyutyuk, director of the Ukrainian Cultural Center. "Women inscribe protection symbols such as infinity and the tree of life for their husbands and sons who are at war."

The traditional pattern is applied on the egg with a special needlepoint pencil, and then the egg is then dipped in the dye to create the batik design. Easter is the most common time to produce these eggs, which are often taken to church to be blessed before they are taken home or given as presents to someone else.

Pysanka symbols are used to convey personal thoughts and wishes. These eggs are not supposed to be eaten. Aside from Easter, eggs are given as gifts at key life events such as childbirth, baptism and marriage and they are often carried to the graves of loved ones who have died.

Egg decorating courses will be held at the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Tallinn for Ukrainians living in Estonia as well as anybody who are interested.


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Editor: Kaspar Viilup, Kristina Kersa

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