Whistler Blog

Easter Eggs

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Didn’t we just get back from Spring Break? Another holiday is approaching quickly, and if you aren’t sure what to do with the kids on Easter Sunday after they have eaten all their chocolate, never fear, the answer is near.  Hop on over to Britannia Beach Mining Museum  for their Dino Egg Hunt on Sunday, April 08 at 11am. According to their website, the fossil record shows that the local, lovable dinosaur (the Britanniasaurus Rex) will be back at the Britannia Mine Museum on Easter Sunday, hiding little treasures throughout the site for kids to find. There will also be activities to help identify the gems and make masks to look like the dinosaur. Something I will be doing, though probably before I let my six year old get to his chocolate, is decorating Easter eggs.  The eggs will not be beautiful in the traditional sense, now that my son is intent on helping with the decorations. I may, in fact, resort to felt pens. And boiled eggs.  There was a time in my life when Easter Egg decorating meant getting out the dyes and kyskas and bees wax and decorate eggs in the Ukrainian traditional style of psanky.  We were not Ukrainian (Irish/Scottish/English mongrel actually), but my mother, who loved quilting and was part of a quilting guild, learned the art from another woman.  Once this form of quilting in beeswax was brought home, psanky became the way we did Easter Eggs.  My father was put to work making drying racks for the eggs and many nights after homework was done my mother would pull out the dyes, beeswax and candles, and we would sit with elastic bands around the uncooked eggs to act as rulers for our meander lines.  The wax would come out of the kyska black and as you worked, more and more of the pure eggshell would be hidden under the dirt.  Colour would be added by setting the egg in one jar of dye and then adding more wax once the egg had dried.  Slowly, as we worked, the egg would become an ugly mass, blobs of grey and black wax, mottled and misshapen.  No colours were visible beneath, though the egg may have been dipped in bright yellow, orange, red, blue, green or black. Without knowing how each step would turn out, we had to believe that things would turn out.  The culmination of what may have been days of work was when we would take the mottled mess and start to warm the wax over a candle. We would rub the egg with a soft cloth and as the wax away and the jewel colours and the intricate (more or less depending on the artist) patterns would emerge.  At the time, though my mother tried to teach us a little about the history of the Ukranian Easter Eggs, I didn’t understand. But now I see how not only the egg, but the act of decorating it and uncovering the image was really all about rebirth and renewal.  I guess, whether one is religious or not, it is hard not to see spring as a time of new beginnings. As we emerge from this long winter – both in the physical and economic sense – I believe that the colour will return, and the rich patterns that were laid down before will become obvious again.