Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter Egg Excitement


Did you know that Ukrainians were the first to dye Easter eggs?

In ancient times, they heralded Spring after a long, cold winter by singing songs, dancing in groups, baking special breads, burning fires, and coloring eggs called Pysanky. With the introduction of Christianity to Ukraine in 988 A.D., the church adopted these rituals into their holidays and many became a part of their Easter celebration.

In Ukraine, Easter is called "Velykden" or "The Great Day."

To help Cava celebrate Easter, which is something he's never done before, we dyed eggs.  While traditional Ukrainian method of dying Pysanky is by using a wax-resist method, we used the American version: Paas.

Pysanky are made for family members and close friends. To give one of these eggs is meant to be symbolic gift of life. All of the colors and designs are deeply symbolic in meaning. The Pysanky are taken to church on Easter Sunday to be blessed before they are given away.

To help Cava celebrate Easter, which is something he's never done before, we dyed eggs.  While traditional Ukrainian method of dying Pysanky is by using a wax-resist method, we used the American version: Paas.

Never having dyed eggs before, Cava could barely contain himself as we poured the vinegar in the cups containing the dye tablets. He had to watch (and sniff) everything. Earlier in the day, I asked Cava if he had ever celebrated Easter back in Ukraine. He shook his head, "No." But he couldn't wait to once I explained the concept of Easter baskets to him.

Needless to say, he was ready to get to some dyeing. His first color of choice: green, obviously, since it's his favorite.


When he saw the finished product, he declared, "So awesome!"  He looked over at Benjamin's and told him, "Really cool!"


Each child got exactly 8 eggs apiece. I know because I counted them to ensure that it was equal because Cava definitely would have noticed.

Here's the finished product of their efforts:


Benjamin's are the ones in the yellow tray and Cava's are in the gray. While they may not be as elaborate or as beautiful as the typical Ukrainian Pysanky, I cherish these because they are my new son's first. 

The morning was damp and dreary, but by the time we did our Easter egg hunt the sun had come out. After Danelle and I hid them (we informed Benjamin that the easy to find ones were Benjamin's while the harder to find ones were his because we knew things could get heated if Benjamin found one of Cava's eggs and vice versa. We also made sure that both had the same number of eggs, 20 plastic each and 8 dyed each, to find since we were also hiding plastic eggs). Both boys were chomping at the bit to be released from the house to begin their frantic search for the hidden eggs.

Cava was the first to find one.

Their approaches couldn't have been more different. Benjamin was the determined egg hunter set on finding all of his fast.


While Cava would wander about the yard, casually looking for eggs or squirrels or birds or planes.


Each time Cava found one, he would excitedly shout, YES!" and hold it up for us to see. He was, however, disappointed that whenever he opened one of the plastic eggs that there was nothing inside; despite the fact that we had told him we didn't put anything in them.



Along with taking his time, Cava also would stop periodically to count how many he'd found so far.


Just as he'd been the one to find the first egg of our hunt, Cava was also the one to find the last.

When I asked him if he enjoyed finding Easter eggs, he replied, "Awesome!" I can only imagine his reaction in the morning when he discovers his very first Easter basket.







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