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.”