Decorating Easter Eggs is a very old European tradition. From Ireland in the West to Russia in the East, hen and duck eggs have been painted since time immemorial at easter.
In the west the tradition is really only associated with children, so there is no tradition of a particular decorative technique. As a result most egg decoration in the west is largely comprised of dipping blown eggs in dye and then attaching stickers.
Blowing out the contents of an egg is not too difficult. You need to carefully prick a hole at each end of a fresh egg whose shell has been thoroughly washed and disinfected. Widen the holes to about half a centimetre across. Now place your mouth over the upper hole and blow gently to push the yolk and albumen out the other hole. A pin pushed up through the bottom hole may help to break the yolk if it gets stuck. Once the egg is dry it can be painted or dyed or decorated with glue and glitter.
However from Bavaria eastwards, decorated eggs are a far more serious issue than mere entertainment for children. In Poland for example even the most basic ‘pysanky eggs’ as the are known, require a seven stage process of wax resist dying to achieve the intricate geometrical designs that are the hallmark of these easter eggs.
In Russia the art of decorating easter eggs reached its zenith in the late nineteenth century when the jeweler Carl Faberge created amazing art from cuckoo eggs decorated with silver, gold, copper, nickel, palladium and polished stones. These were bought as gifts by the Russian royal family and those that survive to this day are considered priceless.
Find out more about Decorated Easter Eggs and other easter related information.