Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter eggs and Easter traditions in Lithuania

The most important symbol of Easter in Lithuania is Easter eggs (marguciai). Painting, dyeing and decorating eggs is a tradition popular in Eastern European countries.  It is a very ancient custom. Although Easter is a Christian feast, the tradition of painting eggs is much older than Christianity.

The tradition of decorating eggs is still very alive in Lithuania. You can find Easter eggs in every home. I remember that dyeing eggs was very fun when I was a kid. It was so special to paint eggs together with all family members!

Easter eggs can be dyed in a single color or in patterns.

The most beautiful eggs are those painted with wax. A stick is dipped in hot wax and then patterns with the stick are painted on a warm egg. When the painting with wax is completed, the egg is dipped in dye. Later the egg is placed into hot water for wax to melt.

Easter eggs painted with wax

Easter eggs painted with wax

Another way of decorating Easter eggs is scraping with a knife.

Easter egg scraped with a knife

Both dyeing with wax and scraping with a knife are difficult ways to decorate Easter eggs, so nowadays Lithuanians rarely do it. I and my mother have tried these techniques, but we were not very good at this…

Natural dyeing materials were popular in the past, nowadays dye for Easter eggs is sold in shops. But some people still use natural plant dye. The most popular way to dye eggs in Lithuania is using onion peel.

Today is the day before Easter, so I dyed Easter eggs too. I used onion peel and dye I had bought in a shop. To make patterns I used plants. I put them on eggs, so plants left prints. Here are some photos of the process:

Preparation for Easter eggs dyeing

I used onion peel and plants

Eggs boiling with onion peel

And here are the results - my Easter eggs this year:

Easter eggs 2011

And a photo from last year:

My Easter eggs 2010

Lithuanians have very nice Easter traditions and games. On Eastern morning children hunt for hidden Easter eggs left them by the Easter Granny. The Easter Granny travels around the country, stopping in every child's yard to leave eggs. When I was a child Easter Granny visited me too. She left Easter eggs hidden somewhere in my room. If I was at my grandmother’s place in the country, Easter Granny often hid eggs somewhere outside the house.

Variety of games is played with Easter eggs. The simplest is an egg-breaking contest. We do it every year at breakfast table on Easter. Two players face off, each holding an Easter egg and hit each other's egg. The one whose egg remains intact is the winner. To win this you must select the strongest egg!

Another amusing Easter game is egg rolling. Contestants roll their eggs and the purpose is to reach the other’s egg and tap it. If your egg hits another egg, you can take it. 

Easter egg rolling


Bia said...

I loved your post. I'm Brazilian, but my family came from Lithuania almost a century ago. Every year we make those eggs with onion peel and then we play the egg-breaking contest. hahah. I love it. I also enjoyed your blog. Pretty nice! :)

Anonymous said...

Very Nice... Happy Easter

Jim T, Show-Me State, USA said...

Happy Easter!

Agne said...

Happy Easter to you too ;)