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Ancient artform of Ukrainian Easter eggs preserves culture, history of a nation under attack. 'It's like writing a prayer or a message'

Angie Leventis Lourgos, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Religious News

The war has ignited waves of egg decorating around the globe, from church groups to classes to pysanky fundraisers, with the proceeds from egg sales helping Ukraine relief efforts. The Facebook page Pysanky for Ukraine has more than 8,000 followers worldwide, many posting photos of their own eggs along with words of encouragement for those threatened or displaced by the war.

“This beautiful Ukrainian tradition was passed down to me from my maternal grandparents,” one woman from Indiana posted on the site, with a half-dozen images of her pysanky. “Prayers for peace to my family, and all families, still in Ukraine.”

“I’m from Ukraine,” wrote another woman, who lives in Khmelnytskyi in the western part of the nation. “Tonight the Russians fired on the city where I live. Firefighters put out the fire all night. … I am sure we will defeat evil. This Easter egg tells the world: The sun of Ukraine will rise! We will overcome the darkness!”

As Fedachtchin dipped her egg in yellow dye, she said her hand was growing increasingly steady, the artwork absorbing some of her concentration and worry. The painstaking technique becomes easier with time and practice, she said.

Her niece, who has small children, had already fled to Poland. Other relatives remained in Lviv, volunteering at night to help pick up refugees at the train station and caring for those displaced by the war.

Her mother and father are in their 80s and don’t want to leave their home, which is a few miles outside of Lviv.

 

As airstrikes racked the city, her mom spoke of gardening and washing the windows, to ready their house for Easter.

Fedachtchin and her sister had laughed, wryly: If an explosion were to shatter the windows, they asked, would it matter if the glass was clean or not?

“Life has to go on, no matter what,” Fedachtchin said. “Because everything is crazy. Sometimes I want to wake up and say this is not real. How can it happen in the 21st century? It’s unbelievable.”

Once forbidden, now revived

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