Saturday, March 30, 2013

Happy Easter, the Ukrainian way...

Isn't it a joy to have art forms associated with our religious holidays?

Truth is I am an arm's length Ukrainian, not in chronology, but because I don't speak the language. We moved away from town around the time most kids start Ukrainian school and being in the countryside, I was much more interested in spending my time at the barn on Saturday mornings with my horse or was needed at my parents' store to help out. In order to rectify that situation in first year University I signed on for Ukrainian 101. Despite my best efforts I struggled through the cyrillic alphabet while other descendants were conversing comfortably. Thank goodness there were easier ways to connect with the Ukrainian culture - the food!

The great thing about the food associated with Ukrainian holidays is that being satiated is universal!

My Baba used to make beautifully braided Easter breads, known as Paska, which marked the Easter holiday for all of us. After Baba was gone I am grateful that my Mother always made a point of asking her sister Stella secure our family a number of Easter breads from the Church of Transfiguration Ukrainian Catholic Bazaar. Stella and the other wonderful ladies of the church guild prepared for weeks prior to the Easter Bazaar.

What I was really impressed with was the other annual offering of the Ukrainian ladies at the Easter Bazaar.  Pysanka or Ukrainian decorated easter eggs! 

My first memory of  these delicate creations was when I was about seven years old. I did not believe that they were made out of real eggs. Luckily the Ukrainian ladies at the Bazaar were annually demonstrating the wax resist method and implementing the Ukrainian folk designs associated exclusively with the name Pysanka. 

I have just counted eight authentic eggs, and three wooden eggs my that Mother collected. Some of the real Pysanka, over 40 years old, are paper-like and delicate. Kind of like life... 

Today I remember the very special ladies associated with these creations, the food and the art - their efforts are likely the foundation of a life-long appreciation for fine craft and all things from the heart.

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