Symbolism of Color


The colors used in pysanka are rich in symbolism. Although each region of Ukraine used its own combination of patterns, designs, and colors certain meanings were associated with the following colors:

Pre-Christian Era

The symbol of light and purity. It signified, youth, love, and the harvest. it is the color consecrated to the light deities.
The symbol of endurance and strength. orange, the color of a flame represented passion tempered by the yellow of wisdom. It is also the symbol of the eternal sun.
The color of fertility, health, and hopefulness.
The magical color of folklore signifying action, charity, and spiritual awakening. It also represented the sun and the joy of life and love. Pysanky with red fields or motifs are often given to children.
Represented constancy or eternity. Black also signified death, fear, and ignorance. Black and white pysanky showed respect for the souls of the dead. Black in opposition to red signified ignorance arising from passions. Black in opposition to white signified ignorance of mind.
Represented Mother Earth and her bountiful gifts.
Represented blue skies or the air.
Signified purity and birth.
Represented fasting, faith, trust, and patience.

Christian Era

The Christian symbol of reward and recognition.
Represents bountifulness, hope, and the victory of life over death. Green is the color of Christmas, Easter, and the Epiphany.
Represents the divine love and passion of Christ.

* For further information on symbolism in pysanky, an excellent source is the book PYSANKA: Icon of the Universe by Mary Tkachuk, Marie Kishchuk, and Alice Nicholaichuk, 1977, Ukrainian Museum, 910 Spadina Crescent East, Saskatoon, Sask, Canada S7K 3G9

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