Pysanka Writing and Dove Making at Pysanka Festival
Elsie Kawulych and Edith Zawadiuk, Directors and Life Members for Vegreville Cultural Association and Vegreville Pysanka Festival, instructed people how to do pysanka writing and dove making at the Vegreville 47th Annual Pysanka Festival on July 3, 4, and 5.
This year due to the restrictions from the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Pysanka Festival’s workshops and some other programs and features were offered through a virtual (online) method.
When I interviewed Kawulych, she said they wrote eggs even in pre-historic times.
“Before Christian time, people used to think of decorating an egg because it symbolizes rebirth in the spring. So, fishermen would do a pysanka writing of a fish on an egg and then when they would go fishing; they would know that they would get a good fish. If it was a farmer, if he put an egg in each corner of his crop, he would know that he would have a good crop.
That was one of the tales of pre-Christianity. When people became involved with Christianity, we had eggs that have meaning with lines and crosses, stars, and other symbols. The lines that we put on are circular and they touch each other to represent eternity,” Kawulych explained.
Kawulych went on to say the history of dove making is Ukrainians always decorated breads. “A dove is what they called a lovebird, and so, that is why they put doves around the wedding bread. The dove’s beaks always face heaven.
Kawulych said anyone can participate in pysanka writing and dove making. “When we have the workshops during our festival, we can show anyone who has a couple of hours how to do this. There is no age limit. We have all the supplies to make this. People can buy their own materials later if they want to make these at home as the materials to make the eggs or doves aren’t expensive to buy.”
“The pysanka writing is meant for Easter (Ukrainian Easter) and dove making is used for wedding or anniversaries for the bread we make then,” Kawulych explained.
Kawulych said people can find out how to do pysanka writing from a book on this subject or from looking up different websites on the computer.