Are you getting ready to paint Easter eggs?
If you need some inspiration, the most beautiful Easter eggs in the world are surely here in Moldova and its neighboring countries. See for yourself in this photo I snapped last weekend at the travel fair in Chișinău.
Viorica Flocea painted these eggs. That’s her with Champa and our friend Denise. You can watch her technique in the video below.
Painting eggs for Easter is a centuries-old tradition in this part of the world. The practice nearly disappeared in Moldova during the decades of Soviet rule when religion was suppressed. Now it has been revived and many Moldovan families paint eggs with their children during the Easter season.
You begin by draining the egg’s contents through a small hole. Then you mark the egg with hot wax lines to form ornamental areas. After the wax turns cold, you place the egg in colored water and then dry it. Next comes the fun part,: painting the egg with different colors, progressing from lighter to darker colors. Finally you dry the egg and strip off the wax lines.
Traditional designs may symbolize the sun, a leaf, wheat or the cross. Certain lines represent life or death, while others portray water or purification. Several websites like this one have more information.
People here traditionally paint Easter eggs on the Thursday and Saturday before the holiday. However, artists such as Viorica paint eggs throughout the year and at exhibitions like the one we attended.
After we bought several of her eggs to bring home as gifts, she encouraged Champa and Denise to give it a try by each drawing their name and the date on an egg.
You can learn from Viorica, too, at her family’s lodge in Fundu Moldovei, Romania. If you’re here in Moldova, the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural History organizes several exhibitions and workshops each year where craftswomen demonstrate the craft.
You also can learn egg painting at the Orhei Vechi archeological complex or Lalova village in Rezina district. Tatrabis offers an all-day excursion in Moldova that combines a class on egg painting with homemade wine tastings where you can wash away your disappointment at not being as skilled as Viorica.
Perhaps I should say you’re not as skilled yet. You still have some time before Sunday to become a master egg artisan yourself.