Intricate Eggs

Nationality: American

Primary Language: English

Other language(s):  n/a

Age: 81

Occupation: n/a

Residence: California

Performance Date: 3-15-18



What it is: Painted Eggs

“My best friend, your mother’s Aunt Helene Balaban, perserved the Ukrainian tradition of painted eggshells. She explained it as: you would take the egg and use a tiny straight pin to put a hole on each side of the egg. Once the eggs have been pinned you gently blow the egg yolk out (through the hole) so that all was left was the shell, this makes sure that the egg would not rot. This step has to be done very very carefully so that the egg shell does not break. The outside is then painted in traditional Ukrainian colors and patterns. These are then presented as gifts (house warming gift, holiday gifts, birthday gifts, even the smallest events could be used to give out these beautiful objects). This is a very intricate process, because it was so easy to crake the shell but a very fun one all the same. After the eggs are painted, they are then varnished.”

Why they know it:  Valerie was give an egg by her best friend and asked about the background to them.

When is it done: These are done for any event. Traditionally, they are a holiday gift and given to friends, family, and neighbors.

Where did it come from: Ukraine

Why it’s done: Since the process is so intricate and time consuming, these eggs are done to represent the love the painter has for the recipient. While these are given at events like a house warming party (or even just as a gift), the recipient would know how much they are cared for because they can see how much time and effort went in to making these objects.

How they know it and what it means: Helene Balaban knows of this tradition from her mother, who knows of it from her mother, and so on. This has been passed down through generations. Valerie knows of this tradition because she received the beautifully painted egg and is very close with Helene who told her of the tradition.

Thoughts: I really wish that I have seen one of these eggs. While I have not met Helene Balaban, she is part of my family and thus I share her culture like she shares mine. Knowing that this is something that meant a great deal to her and subsequently my Grandmother makes me value this tradition, even though I haven’t witnessed it. I know hope to continue this tradition and not only show my love for my friends and family, but for my Great Aunt as well by continuing her traditions.