The habit of staining and decorating eggs was probably born around 3,000 BC in Assyria and, according to some sources in Persia.
Originally, eggs were most often dyed red (blood - the essence of life) and sacrificed to deities. Faith in the importance of the egg as a symbol of reborn life and victory over death has survived to this day, and the custom of decorating eggs has become associated with the traditions of Easter. In the past, only women and girls were involved in decorating, and the painting of eggs was surrounded by mystery.
Only natural dyes were once used to dye Easter eggs:
- yellow colour was obtained from a decoction of alder and birch leaves, chamomile flowers, St. John's woost or young pear bark and apple tree
- red - of aggregate bark, linden bark, elderberry and berries
- burgundy – of red beetroot
- shades from orange, through red to dark brown - from boiled onion shells
- black - from oak bark, alder or ripe elderberry fruit
- green – from shoots of young rye, grass or herbs
- purple - from the petals of a mallows’ flowers or dried violet petals.
Several basic egg decorating techniques are known, characteristic of the region. The oldest of them – batik technique is the most common and occurs in many regions, e. g. in Silesia. It consists of ‘writing’ the pattern with hot wax with a special funnel or a pinhead - we put the finished egg in a colouring solution. This action can be repeated, immersing the egg in an increasingly dark dye and obtaining a multicoloured decoration. The egg decorated with this method is called pisanka (Easter egg).
The most popular in the Silesia region, however, is a kraszanka (kroszonka) also called a drawing or scratcher. And although we commonly call the egg dyed on the whole surface a uniform colour. The Silesian kroszonka is an egg decorated with a engrave method - after colouring the egg to a uniform colour (often in onion shells) we will scrape the pattern with a sharp tool, e. g. a knife, scalpel or razor blade (formerly used to use a sewing knife, called gnyp). The most common motive of Silesian kroszonki are plant ornaments: palm trees, flowers, leaves.
Source: Poland Daily