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Versiunea Romana

The Easter and the Easter Eggs

As a symbol of creation, of begetting life, the egg have inspired, from ancient times, numerous legends, fairy-tales, an entire literature. In the romanian culture it is sufficient to mention two outstanding representants: Constantin Brancusi and Ion Barbu, whose works orbit around this subject, considered to have perfect geometrical form - the perfect object. The origin of egg-painting is lost in the darkness of the pre-Christian era, when the New Year was celebrated at the vernal equinox. The eggs were gifted as a symbol of equilibrium, creation and fecundity. The Romans used red-painted eggs as gifts on celebrating Janus and they were used in different games and religious ceremonies. The custom of the egg painting was transmitted to the Christians and is still used especially by the peoples of Europe and Asia. As opposed to other European countries, where this custom restrained or vanished, in Romania it flourished, reaching the tops of art by the technique, materials, significance of the motives and the perfection of achievement.

In Romania the painted eggs represent a proof of the tradition, beliefs and Easter customs being placed among the elements of great folk spiritual cultural value, which define the ethnical peculiarities of our people. The folklore presents several Christian legends which explain why the eggs are painted in red on Easter and why they became the symbol of the celebration of Christ's Ressurection.The most wide-spread legend tells us about how Virgin Mary, who came to mourn her crucified son, laid the basket with eggs near the cross and they reddened because of the blood that was flowing from Jesus" wounds. The Lord, seeing that the eggs reddened, said to those who were there:"From now on, you too shall paint the eggs in red to remember my crucifixion, as I did today."

  • Materials
    • hen egg (traditional)
    • vegetal colors
    • bee wax
  • Tools
    • goose feather
    • "chisita" (special tool, made of a thin metal pipe, with very small diameter; a pig hair is pulled through it) is used for "writing" the motive.
    • "brush" (a tool that is used for covering the larger spaces - thick lines, points etc.)
  • (Vegetal) Colours
    • obtain from sweat apple peal, sweet apple leaves and flowers, hip rose peal etc.

Text: ethnographer Catalina Marin; Web: Cornelia Calin - Constantin
Last update: February 7, 2001