Pysanky is a folk art that dates back thousands of years and originated in the area which is now the Ukraine, Poland Czechoslovakia and parts of Russia.  In pre-Christian times the eggs were believed to have talismanic properties. There are many legends and stories told about Pysanka here

Receiving an egg showed not only friendship or affection but also brought with it protection from harm.  In ancient times it was believed that the eggs would bring good luck, wealth, health and protection. Around the year 988, Christianity was brought to this area.  As the people began to recognize God’s presence in their lives, they began to incorporate Christian meanings to the symbols. Each egg tells its own story. Each symbol and color is intended to bring the person who receives it love, health, wealth or other attributes of good fortune.


The symbols are represented in 3 forms: Geometric, Plant and Animal.   You will notice that 3 is an important number in Pysanky.  3 is the number for the Holy Trinity: The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  It is also symbolic of the Sun, Moon and Stars as well as Air, Fire and Water. 


CIRCLES:  Circles symbolize protection, everlasting life and completeness.  

TRIANGLES: Triangles stand for the Holy Trinity, the Sun, Moon and Stars, and air, fire and water.

SUNS: Suns symbolize the life giving nature of God as well as Fire and Warmth, Prosperity and Good Fortune.

STARS: Stars symbolize Christ, purity, life, the giver of life, beauty and perfection.

DOTS:  Dots mean the stars in the heavens or the tears of Mary at the crucifixion. 

CURLS:  Curls are symbols of protection or defense.

THE CROSS:  The cross symbolizes life, Christianity and is a symbol of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins.

SIEVES: Sieves represent the separating of good from evil.

NETS: Nets are a symbol of motherhood, knowledge and the giving of life and gifts.

LADDERS:  Ladders represent searching, rising above the petty and our prayers ascending to heaven.

DIAMONDS: Diamonds are a symbol of knowledge. 


DEER:  Deer represent leadership, victory and joy.

HORSES: Horses mean wealth, prosperity, endurance and speed

RAMS:  Rams and Rams Horns symbolize leadership, strength, dignity, perseverance and persistence. 

HORNS: Horns of any kind stand for nobility, wisdom and triumph over problems.

BIRDS: Birds are a symbol of the season of spring as well as the fulfillment of wishes and a good harvest.

CHICKENS:  Hens and Roosters are symbols of good fortune.


FISH:  Fish symbolize Christianity.  They are also symbols of Life, Health and Fertility.

BUTTERFLIES:  Butterflies mean the ascent of the soul or dying to oneself.   It is also a symbol of Jesus' resurrection. 



TREES:   Trees represent strength, health, youth and growth.


LEAVES:  Leaves symbolize immortality, eternal or pure love, strength and persistence.

FLOWERS:  Flowers are symbols of beauty, joy, love, charity and caring.  They also represent wisdom and elegance.  Flowers can represent country of origin: Poland has the poppy, Russia has chamomile, the Ukraine has the sunflower and the Czech Republic has the rose.


FRUIT: Fruit such as apples or pears, are symbols of good fellowship, strong and loyal love, the love of God, knowledge, health and wisdom.


SUNFLOWERS:  Sunflowers represent motherhood, life or the love of God.


WHEAT:  Wheat symbolizes a bountiful harvest. 


PINE and PINE NEEDLES: Pine and its needles symbolize good health, stamina and eternal youth. 

Additional elements:

Eternity bands separate the elements on the pysanka, they are divided into 3 categories: Meanders, Waves and Lines or Ribbons.

Meanders symbolize harmony, motion, infinity and immortality.

Waves stand for wealth, good crops and water.

Lines and ribbons represent the thread of life or eternity. 


WHITE:  the color of the egg, means purity, birth and innocence

YELLOW: symbolizes youth, light happiness and wisdom

RED: (the most common color on an egg) symbolizes Love, passion and enthusiasm

PINK: Symbolizes success

ORANGE: stands for endurance, strength and power.

GREEN: means growth, renewal, freshness and hope.  It also means the victory of life over death.

BLUE: represents the sky and good health

PURPLE:  a symbol of patience, trust and power.

BLACK: the color of remembrance, eternity and constancy.  The black and white combination symbolizes protection from evil.