Monday, April 8, 2013


Easter Sunday was the source of many fond memories for me. I was too young to fully grasp the real reason my family celebrated Easter, but not too young to enjoy some family traditions. Easter Sunday meant sitting on my grandparent’s couch while my grandfather read the cousins Prince Bertram the Bad or Sir Kevin of Devon while the aunts and uncles hid brightly colored eggs around the yard. (If I had any say we would read Prince Bertram the Bad every time. I felt some sort of deep-seated connection to Prince Bertram. I felt he was so misunderstood. We were kindred spirits, I was sure of it. But I digress. That is another story for another day…) When I was a bit older and had some measure of fashion awareness (although, after a cursory glance at me, some might argue that I have never gained fashion awareness), Easter Sunday meant we could wear white shoes and our new dresses.

As I grow older, Easter Sunday means something new and different, but those brightly colored eggs will always have a place in my memory. We never really believed that an Easter bunny existed. The Easter egg hunt was more of a friendly, or not-so-friendly at times, competition to see who could gather the most eggs, or better yet, be the one to find the egg that the adults had forgotten about. As I experienced the Easter season in India, I have added a new “brightly colored egg” memory to my bank. Can I just say that India has definitely raised the bar with egg dying?

The week before Easter, I was wandering around rehab when I began to smell the distinctive scent or melting beeswax. I followed my nose to the library across the hall. When I entered the room, I was met with the source of the smell: pysanka. Now, as I understand, pysanka is a Ukrainian method of egg dying, but a volunteer from the United States had brought her pysanka tools and know-how to CMC and was coaching patients and staff on how to create beautiful works of art on an egg shell. And by “beautiful” I mean “stunning,” “unique” and “intricate.”

From what I could tell, pysanka is done by drawing on eggs shells with wax and then dipping them into various dyes. After each dip in the dye the egg is dried and a new layer of wax is added somewhere else before being dipped again in a dye. When the design is finished, the egg is dried and the wax is removed with a flame. When the wax is melted off, a beautiful multi-colored pattern is revealed. The egg is then polished with a little petroleum jelly to add shine and protection.

Mansi (rehab physio) hard at work. 

Fun for all ages!

Tools of the trade.

A patient carefully planning his design. 

Pearlin (rehab OT) working on her delicate design. 

De-waxing the egg. 

There has to be some analogy here about sometimes you have to feel the heat before the beautiful pattern of your life's design is revealed.... Or something like that! 

A completed product!

This is the egg Mansi was working on in the first photo. Crazy transformation, huh?

A patient and his eggs.

Each design was a little different. 


The creator of this egg design went rouge and made up his own design. Turned out well, I'd say. 

Trinity (OT) and his creation. 

Group photo. 
Like I said, this egg dying experience sort of puts the bright eggs of my childhood to shame. I really enjoyed watching each person become an artist with their shell and wax. I think I got more excited about the revealed designs then many of the artists themselves. I will remember this Easter egg-dying experience with great fondness-- me with my camera and tea, walking around taking photos and anticipating the final designs.

Ok, I admit. I did sort of miss hearing about Prince Bertram this Easter season. A soul so misunderstood… 


  1. Although I will always hold dear the memory of vinegary dyes and Prince Bertram, I have been wanting to try this for a while now! Aren't the eggs fantastic? I love the black ones! So striking.

  2. These are wonderful photos. Thank you for sharing!