Preserving Easter Traditions

This Sunday is Easter and, if you celebrate, you’ve likely already stocked up on white eggs and dyes. But no matter what your religion is, we can all take part in the tradition of decorating eggs this time of year. It’s a celebration that dates back far before Christianity.

On display now, at the Historical Society of Montgomery County, is a collection of hand-painted traditional Ukrainian Easter Eggs. The eggs are on loan from Barbara Makar whose sister painted each egg between 30 and 50 years ago.

“This tradition goes back before Christianity,” says curator Susan Pavlik, “It was originally done by Earth worshipping people.” Decorating eggs was initially a simple celebration of spring and the rebirth of nature.

Eggs were originally decorated using organic colors, unlike the synthetic dyes we use today. “Bone would be burnt because the carbon made black,” says Pavlik. “Cochineal, an insect, made red.”

The eggs on display at the Historical Society use geometric imagery typical of the Ukrainian style. Most of them can be linked to Christian ideas. “Today, symbols like a triangle represents the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,” says Pavlik.

You can see the eggs at the Historical Society through April 15. Go before Sunday and you can try to recreate the designs yourself.

Historical Society
1654 Dekalb St. Norristown, PA
This event Free & open to the public