Pysaty is the Ukrainian verb for writing. Pysanky are decorated eggs: the decorations are written with beeswax which resists the layers of dye.
My family has dyed pysanky for years. My sister Jan and her husband Greg host an annual neighborhood egg decorating party. I was inspired by the party and the eggs to write a book about an eccentric hen (P. Zonka) who lays beautiful eggs. Here is a link to an earlier post about that.
Last spring I went to eastern Europe with my friend Ingrid. Her friend Vova took us many places, including a surprise visit to the Museum of Decorated Eggs in the Carpathian mountains.
It was egg-mazing, egg-zilerating, egg-xactly the place to see pysanky: old, new, simple, intricate, subtle, colorful, masterful, plentiful.
Pysanky are rich in beauty and symbolism. To the sun worshippers, eggs were magical objects representing the rebirth of the earth. The colors and the patterns of the decorations all have symbolic meaning. For example: the spiral, or snake, is a strong talisman of protection. If an evil spirit enters the house it will get trapped in the spiral.
The Huzkuls of the Carpathian mountains believed that the fate of the world depended on decorating eggs. If not enough pysanky were made each year a horrible monster named Pekun would break free from his chains and destroy the world. So please do your part and decorate some eggs! Here is a link to a youtube video that shows how. Have fun (and save the world).
P.S.: Here is a glossary of mouth pleasing egg words for those of you that are more interested in pysaty than pysanky.
Malyovanky: Painted eggs
Krapanky: Dot eggs
Dryapanky: Scratched eggs revealing white shell
Krashanky: Eggs dyed a single color
Nakleyanky: Decorations glued on
Travlenky: Etched eggs
Biserky: Beads embedded in the beeswax.