Another great reason to cherish the chicken

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Egg1

In spite of sprawl, urban blight, and other factors, Buffalo still has a vibrant Polish-American community. Every Easter you’ll find them—and everybody else—at the Broadway Market, where in addition to such specialties as placek, holiday kielbasa, and pierogy, there are various renditions of psanky/pisanki, decorated eggs.

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Over the years, I have become addicted to these eggs; they have utterly spoiled me for the dyed eggs of my childhood. Traditionally, the decorated eggs are made by Ukrainians, Poles, and other European cultures for Easter, but like many Christian customs, their origins go back to ancient nature worship. There are wooden ones that are also very charming, but I love the wax-resist-method eggs pictured here. (These are not the priciest.) Some of you may know how to make these; I took one look at the instructions and decided to continue providing economic stimulus to their makers.

The survival of traditions like psanky seems very much aligned with the local, the fresh, and that which you have brought/helped bring into being with your own two hands.

Egg3

Tomorrow we’ll be beating each other with pussy willows, but that’s another story … another tradition …

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Elizabeth Licata

Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regularly radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world,and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at yahoo.com

5 COMMENTS

  1. Elizaabeth — I well recall Easter time visits to Broadway Market and listening to the Polish radio station. I love psanky and thought the prices for the ones pictured were very nice. One shop here always sells them ($25) and also has a demonstration and a decorating contest — local traditions that have been going on for 30 years. But I’m with you; I’ll be part of the stimulus package.

  2. They are a great craft item to try out with a bunch of friends. Don’t try to do the fancy schmancy designs right out of the gate – just concentrate on playing. Draw little fuzzy chicks, or spring flowers, or bunnies in many colors…

    It’s a ton of fun and a great group activity. Get a bunch of friends gathered around a table, each one with a candle in front of them… make your neighbors talk!

  3. We just had a huge egg-dying thing happening in my house. We’re really getting sophisticated here on Caroline Street, with lots of crayon “lost-wax” action and artful over-dying.

    I have to show my kids these–they won’t believe it.

  4. When I was a child in my Polish household Easter egg dying was a big event. We would blow some out (what a pain it was to try and break the raw egg’s yolk with a pin and then blow it out a pin hole) and drip wax on others with a toothpick (pre-wax crayon days). I’ve never seen anything as intricate as these eggs, but I certainly can see the genesis of our childhood tradition in them. Beautiful!

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