On the “Sunday of Orthodoxy,” 5 March 2017, a Ukrainian Easter Egg class was offered to the parish (Orthodox Church of the Mother of God) and greater community of Mays Landing NJ led by Mrs. Hala “Holly” Dawson. Twenty adults and children attended. Holly has made over 300 Pysanky eggs in the traditional Ukrainian wax-resistant method using melted beeswax and a wooden stylus. Mrs. Lore Stefy, another Pysanky writer in the parish, assisted Mrs. Dawson. Young and old alike attended the class.
Mrs. Dawson explained the tradition and symbolism of a red egg as first told in the story of Saint Mary Magdalen who is often depicted in iconography holding a red egg. Handing out red eggs on PASCHA/Easter is a tradition that goes back to Apostolic times. She explained the meaning of some of the images written on the eggs, the need for quiet prayer during the process, and the spiritual benefit of undertaking the task. Mrs. Stefy explained the necessity of using only smooth and perfect eggs. A display of their personal Pysanky collections was available.
With close adult supervision, the children of the parish were enthralled with the project. With great patience and care they applied wax to their eggs, dyed them, and removed the wax. Mrs. Dawson grandchildren, Savannah, Hayden and Xavier Golden, are adept at making Pysanky so they assisted those who needed a little help.
Everyone was very appreciative of learning this ancient practice and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. It was a good project to undertake during Lent and especially on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, during which we celebrate the final defeat of iconoclasm and the return of icons to the Holy Orthodox Church.