Pisanki (Pisanky, pysanky) are colored and decorated Easter eggs. The art of pisanki is cultivated in Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania and many other East and Central European countries. The name pisanki comes from the word "pisac" means "to write" or "to print". Easter eggs are in Polish called jajka wielkanocne.
Easter Eggs are the symbols of life and they were believed to have magical properties. These beliefs were originally associated with an old pagan tradition which gradually faded out, so that Easter eggs became incorporated to the Christian tradition of Easter. The oldest painted eggs found in Poland originated from the X century. Read several articles about Polish pagan and Easter traditions and habits in Poland.
There are several techniques to make pisanki. Pisanki from different regions of Poland can be distinguished by the unique patters. The most common decorating technique is so called wax-flowing or wax-melting. Special kits for painting eggs with a funneled pen, color dyes and a wax can be purchased in Ukrainian or Polish gift shops.
The wax-melting technique of painting is very complex and consist of several stages. First the pattern is painted by use of the funelled pen filled with the melted wax, later the egg is dipped in the selected color and so and so again until the painting is done in all chosen colors starting from the lightest and finish with the darkest. The final and very important step is a removing of the wax from the egg.
* Photographs and description of the technique are a courtesy of Ewelina Maliszewska-Cyna.