Easter celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection that usually occurs during springtime. The holiday includes a forty-day period of fasting known as Lent which ends on Easter Sunday with joyous feasting.
Easter is a “movable feast” which Christians celebrate on a different day each year. Easter, like other holidays, has its roots in pagan rituals and beliefs. Some historians believe that the word “Easter” derives from the name “Eastre,” the Teutonic goddess who represented springtime and fertility. Pagans celebrated her festival on the first day of spring.
Easter symbols include the Easter rabbit, a symbol of fertility, and eggs dyed in different colors which symbolize birth. The Ukrainian tradition of Pysanky or egg dyeing influenced the Easter banner design in the craft project below. (The word “pysanky” means “to write.”) Ukrainian Easter eggs are known all over the world for their beauty and colorful, intricate designs. The number of symbols and colors used in the design of the eggs grew as the craft became popular.
Each object/symbol and color has a special meaning:
Sun – the source of light and life
Star – success
Birds – spring, a good harvest
Heart – love
Fruits and vegetables – the good life
Wheat – the life’s work of the Ukrainian peasant
Animals – prosperity and wealth
Bees – hard work
Tree – strength, long life, good health, youthfulness
White – purity
Yellow – wisdom, a successful harvest
Green – spring, rebirth of nature
Blue – good health, sky, air, magic
Red – happiness, passion, hope
Brown – earth, mountains
Purple – faith, trust
Ukrainian eggs are first divided into triangles, squares or circles and then other objects are added: the sun, flowers, wheat, etc.
EASTER EGG BANNER
Ages: 5 – 12 years
Time: one hour
Pink craft foam sheet
Blue craft foam sheet
Yellow craft foam sheet
Yellow felt square 14” x 20”
Dowel rod 18”
String – double the length of the dowel rod
Measure and cut the yellow felt square to 14” x 20” and place it vertically. Make a loop by measuring and folding a 1” seam and iron. Measure and fold a second 1” seam. Iron and glue the second fold. You will be inserting the dowel rod through this loop. (This felt piece should now measure 14”x18”.)
Using templates or stencils trace and cut a large egg from the pink craft foam sheet. Glue it on the center of the yellow felt piece. Cut the double cross pattern, 5 small eggs, six small petals, and 4 large petals out of the blue craft foam sheet. Cut six small petals and 4 large petals from the yellow craft foam sheet. Cut 5 small eggs and 2 tiny circles from the pink craft foam sheet.
Glue the double cross on the large egg. Place 4 large yellow petals near the center of the top cross. Glue a pink dot in the center of the cross. Arrange 6 blue petals near the top and sides of the cross. Glue 4 large blue petals near the intersection at the bottom of the cross. Glue a pink dot in the center of the bottom cross. Arrange 6 small yellow petals near the bottom and sides of the cross and glue. Glue small blue and pink eggs in a random pattern around the central egg.
Cut the dowel rod to approximately18”. Insert a loop at the top. Cut the string to a length suitable for hanging. Tie the string to the ends of the dowel rod. Decorate your home by hanging the Easter Egg Banner from a window, on a wall or door.
VARIATION: What other symbols have special meaning to you? Use them in your own Easter Egg Design.