Symbolism Of The Easter Egg

Leticia Celentano Author: Leticia Celentano Time for reading: ~8 minutes Last Updated: October 26, 2022
Symbolism Of The Easter Egg

Easter eggs, like any other traditional and symbolic holiday attributes, are associated with a huge number of beliefs and legends. According to one of them, the fate of our world directly depends on how many Easter cards will be painted each year. As long as people continue to write Easter eggs, the world exists. And when this custom is forgotten, the evil that lives under the ground is chained

Easter eggs , like any other traditional and symbolic holiday attributes, are associated with a huge number of beliefs and legends. According to one of them, the fate of our world directly depends on how many Easter cards will be painted each year. As long as people continue to paint  Easter eggs , the world exists. And when this custom is forgotten, then the evil that lives underground, chained to the ceiling, will be released and destroy our world. Every year, the devil sends his servants to see how many Easter cards are being signed around the world. When people diligently observe this custom, they firmly tighten and deprive the evil of iron fetters, because human love always wins. The tradition of painting  Easter eggs has existed for more than 8 thousand years.

Pysanka , like vyshyvanka, has its own characteristics of color and design, depending on the area. So, in Volyn, part of Podillia and Polissia, they make mainly red Easter eggs ; black Easter eggs with a dark or white background can be found in the Transnistrian Podil; two-color ones are Boyki Easter eggs ; and in the Hutsul region they like to make Easter eggs clear and bright, painting white and yellow over red.


Easter eggs have been talismans since ancient times , each of them had a certain meaning and purpose. It was customary to give Easter eggs of light colors to children, Easter eggs with triggers and solar symbols to young girls and boys, Easter eggs decorated with forty nails or squiggles, and Easter eggs with belts ("heavenly bridges") and black colors were given to the owners .


Dividing Easter eggs into parts

It is no secret to anyone that all nations consider numbers sacred, giving each of them a certain meaning and power. Because, before starting to paint  Easter eggs , the egg was divided into parts to place specific elements of the pattern and repeat them, none of this was done by chance.

Dividing Easter eggs into 2 parts symbolizes the idea of ​​the existence of 2 worlds. The division into 3 parts was usually done vertically, and it meant 3 heavenly spheres. And the 4 parts of the Easter egg formed a cross and were identified with the 4 sides of the world.

Then it's more difficult. Each of the 4 parts of the Easter egg was sometimes divided into 3, and this meant 4 seasons, each of which has 3 months. And according to another belief, the world was divided into 6 sides, and such spatial orientation was transmitted with the help of a 6-pointed star.

Studying the division of Easter , scientists concluded that in ancient times there was an eight-year calendar cycle. In addition, folk mythology tells that the sky has 8 spheres - 7 are blue, and the 8th is red, where God himself lives.

Perhaps the most interesting, and perhaps the most difficult, is the division of Easter eggs into 40 parts, the so-called forty nails. Each of the nails was a symbol of human activity or a natural phenomenon, and from the Christian point of view - 40 days of fasting.


Coloring Easter eggs

The color of the Easter egg also has its meaning. Red is the oldest color and has several meanings. First, red is a symbol of the joy of life, goodness, for lovers and young people - hope for a successful marriage. The red egg itself means sacrifice, heavenly fire and resurrection. Also, the red color identifies the blood shed by the savior for the sake of people.

The yellow color of Easter eggs is a symbol of warmth, celestial bodies and harvest. Green is identified with the spring awakening of nature, hope and new life. Sky, air, purity and health are symbolized by the blue Easter egg . The brown or brown color speaks of the earth and its hidden life-giving power. And the black Easter egg has the color of something unknown and secret, the night, the afterlife. Also, the color black is identified with the infinity of life and its continuation after death. And if black is used as a background for Easter eggs , then it strengthens and reveals the power of other colors.


Easter egg ornament

There are many types of ornaments for Easter egg  painting , as well as their meanings. Over the centuries, each locality contributed something of its own to this tradition, passing on knowledge and beliefs from generation to generation. Of course, you cannot describe all of them, but you can single out the main ornaments used to paint Easter eggs .


The sun on Easter is depicted in the form of a circle, a rose (an eight-pointed star), a tripod (an image of 3 rays emanating from one point and twisting in one direction), a swastika or a cross.

In ancient times, Easter was one of the traditional holidays in honor of the sun. According to beliefs, the sun is God's eye, so it symbolizes truth and truth, justice, as well as the winner of any evil. So, the sun is the personification of God on earth, justice and freedom, unity.


The cross is also a sun sign. Its image comes from a schematic representation of a bird, since in ancient times the sun was imagined precisely as a bird flying in the sky.

In the Easter egg ornament , the cross is a "sign of God" that is associated with the tree of life. The cross consists of two intersecting lines: the line of time (horizontal) and eternity (vertical), that is, the cross simultaneously symbolizes being and non-being. Also, the cross identifies the 4 sides of the world, 4 winds, 4 seasons.


Zorya, rose

The star on the Easter egg can be different: 5-, 6-, 7-, 8-sided.

Two 8-pointed stars on the Easter egg are a symbol of the sun. Also, in Ukrainian folklore, the star symbolizes a girl, and the moon symbolizes a young man. The six-pointed star means the 6 sides of the horizon, which correspond to the sky, not to the earth. Also, it is a symbol of the year — 2 halves of 6 months.

The image of the star includes a straight cross, an oblique cross, and a left- and right-sided swastika. All this is a symbol of love. Once upon a time, giving a Easter egg painted with a gun was equated to a declaration of love.



The traditional image of flowers is quite similar to the image of stars - they are identified with human souls, but flowers are more associated with children.

It was believed that women who want and do not have children for a long time should paint Easter eggs with flowers, and then give them to their children. Also, flowers are one of the most popular ornaments in Transcarpathian pysankarti.


Pine branch

Trees, branches and leaves symbolize life, health, annual spring rebirth, growth, eternal youth. By the way, this symbol is also most often used in Transcarpathian Easter eggs .


Curl, spiral, snake

A curl, a spiral, a snake is a symbol that has been known in art for a long time and equates with vitality and the birth of life. Also, the spiral symbolizes time, cyclical rhythms of the year, birth and death, development and movement. And the snake is attributed with wisdom, immortality and healing power. Pysanka with such an ornament was given as a gift for health and development.

S-shaped sign of eternity

This symbol means the combination of the opposite, which is the basis of our world. A sign that embodies the "struggle" of cold and heat, darkness and light, woman and man, but between all of them it is a sign of unity, the beginning, the crown of completion.


Infinity or curve

Symbolizes water. Water existed even before the creation of the world, and it was from it that the sun, the earth and all living things arose - that is why it equates at the same time with eternity and the passage of time.

Also, water connects the world of the living with the world of the dead. Once upon Easter, it was customary to throw eggshells into the water, as if giving a sign to the ancestors that it was time for them to celebrate Easter. Water cleanses from bodily and mental dirt - which is at the heart of the rite of baptism. And water is the embodiment of life-giving feminine and natural sources.

Symbolically, water is represented by straight or wavy lines, "infinity", zigzags and wavy patterns.


Forty nails

It is believed that the triangle with the top up (flame) symbolizes the male source, spirituality, creativity; and the triangle with the top down (bowl) is a female source, wisdom. On Easter , they are always depicted together in the form of a rhombus, a square or a six-pointed star - as completeness, the process of creating and preserving the world, fertility.

However, the most common ornament for Easter eggs is the "40 nails" motif - a plane completely covered with triangles. Of course, the number of triangles may not necessarily be 40, but 48 or more than 50. The number 40 has many meanings: seven "forties" a mother bears a child, 40 days of Great Lent, 40 years of wandering in the desert of God's people, etc.


Tree of life

This ornament symbolizes the model of the universe, where everyone has his place, combines the concepts of space, time, life and death. Often, the tree on Easter is divided into 3 parts: the underground world (roots), the earthly world (trunk), the heavenly world (crown). Also, 3 parts can be identified with the family - father, mother and child.

Combs, rakes, triangles with combs

This ornament of the Easter egg is associated with water - it depicts clouds and rain, nourishing moisture. Such Easter eggs  were painted in drought, believing that this way you can summon heavenly water.


  • The grape vine symbolizes spiritual rebirth.

  • Oak leaf - strength, longevity and patience.

  • Ram - abundance, fertility and success.

  • A bird is a symbol of the human soul.


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