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Autor: Simona Botezan         Publicat în: Ediţia nr. 82 din 23 martie 2011        Toate Articolele Autorului

Romanian Exquisites Eggs and Easter Traditions
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Decorating Easter eggs is an old tradition throughout Central and Eastern Europe. The custom of Easter egg painting is very old begins with Christianity and is a symbol of spring and rebirth of nature. Easter is the most important Christian holiday and always is celebrate on spring season. After the First World War, part of eastern Romania has been conquest of Russian Federacy and before western part was occupied by hundreds years of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Because people living together as a result the practice of painting Easter Eggs spread in many countries in Central and Eastern Europe: Romania, Moldavia, Hungary, Ukraine, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania etc. 
Romanian Exquisites Eggs are very beautiful. Each Easter eggs decorated conveys a message. In one articles in Princeton Packet from New Jersey (March 24, 2006), called “The Land beyond the Forest” one American journalist write about Romanian Exquisites Eggs: “This is unofficial Ambassador of Romanian in USA”. Other newspaper, called Philadelphia Inquirer (March, 2008) write: “Exquisite Eggs made by Romanian artisans is Eggs with a PhD.” The Land beyond the Forest is translation in English for Romanian word, Transylvania. 
How is made exquisite eggs? 
Exquisites eggs is hand made, painted with traditional geometric motifs, usually in red, white, yellow, blue and black. Same colors and geometric patterns appear on Romanian Ethnic Costumes, traditional fabrics and carpets. White is symbol of purity, red is symbol of life (blood color) and black is symbol of fertility represented good land for agriculture. Eggs have painted many lines - symbol of eternity. Yellow is the color of sun and gold and if somebody gives you one egg with this color that means: “I wish you warm in your heart and riches”. Blue is symbol of the sky and water. Often eggs is painted with crosses are down, the image of St. Mary – symbol of Christianity and other with birds and animals – symbols of good health. 
Some Easter eggs are made for decorative purposes. They occur, especially in the villages of Romania where they are decorated by talented artisan women, who learn from their mothers or grandmothers decorating process. Also, eggs are decorated or painted in monasteries of Bukovina, a very beautiful region in Northeast Romania. First eggs are washed and degreased, then make a small hole at the bottom of the egg, which the content is removed. Then trace the eggshell with a colorless wax, the part that will remain white. Talented women to apply the model manually used pens and fine brushes. More old tools for painting made from goose or duck feathers sharp. The paints are extracted from plants. The recipes are centuries old, and obtained by the carefully preserved and passed down from generation to generation in each family of artisans.  
Decorative Eggs are found to Romanian Art Folk Museums and in the Romanian Monasteries and are bought by tourists as souvenirs. In the U.S.A an impressive collection of over 1,000 decorated eggs are available to Romanian Art Folk Museum from Philadelphia. Around Easter, the museum organizes exhibitions with sale. The price of an egg painted by artisans of Bukovina ranging between $ 12-35 for duck eggs; $ 50-70 for goose eggs and around than $ 100 for chicken or quail eggs.  
Over the 30 years Mrs. Rodica Perciali teacher and founder of the Romanian Art Folk Museum in Philadelphia, has organized over 200 presentations in showrooms, schools, churches, WTC and universities across the U.S.A about Romanian culture, folk art and traditions. In the Romanian Museum exists a huge ostrich egg was painted with Romanian geometric motifs. Other eggs was painted by nuns or an artisan from Bukovina. Dyed or exquisitely hand painted with traditional designs and, more recently, hand decorated with small colored wax with very intricate designs, including crosses, geometric pattern, animals and plants, by the growing number of talented artisans from Bukovina.  
Rodica Perciali called artisan from Romania and they performed live with Romanian method of decorating Easter eggs, ceramics, rugs and that have appeared on U.S. television and in American news. She have a repeated coverage by NBC, ABC, CNN, WGN, Fox News and so on. Mrs. Rodica Perciali was awarded with the title of "Outstanding New American Citizen"in 1987 in Chicago and Several Grants and prizes because she has dedicated entire life for promoted Romanian culture and traditions in North America. 
Other way for know more about Romanian Holiday’s and Traditions is offered by events prepared in USA with Romanian artisans or folk dance ensemble. Now is a preview of the exhibition "The traditional Maramures rugs of Victoria Berbecaru and Mircea Cantor's flying carpet"to La Maison Française. The Romanian Cultural Institute from New York and the Embassy of Romania to the U.S. prepared this meeting how be starting in March 28 at “La Maison Francaise” in Washington, D.C.  
Regular Easter eggs decorations method  
Eggs how are consumed during the Easter holidays are decorated in every Romanian house by other methods then Exquisites Hand Made for decoration. First is necessary to collect clover leaves and other leaves with interesting shapes. Then the eggs are washed with detergent and drained. After that we apply on the skin of each egg one or two of these leaves wet. The egg should be wrapped carefully in thin nylon stockings (colored leg stockings that are found in any stores). Stocking is linked closely with normal sewing. The reason is to protect eggshell for can not enter the colors in between leaf and eggshell.  
The eggs are then placed in a pot on the bottom of which were put dry onion peel of white and red and a few tablespoons of vinegar and some salt. If in the pot we have yellow peel eggs is yellow after boiling. If there we have peel from red onion, finally eggs have red color. If is one combination of peels, eggs is finally orange or brown. After 10-15 minutes, remove eggs from water and let cool, then shell is cut and leaves instead of different color models appear more open, or the original color of egg shell. Eggs are then smeared with wax, oil, bacon or pork fat to gain luster and has the effect of closing the pores of eggshell. Last year my eggs were colored with chemical dyes and I applied decals with Romanian traditional models. 
Sometimes Easter Eggs are decorated with wax, after then is dipped in red paint. Part covered by wax remain white, the rest of the egg is colored red. My mom usually made eggs for Easter in red and white. 
If you want to get more colors, cover the remaining white part first, then dive egg in a light colored paint, for example yellow. Then covered with wax the parts that we want to remain yellow and egg sinking in the dark paint, for example red. After that covered with wax the parts that we want to stay red in color and then dive - if we get extra blue finally we have purple color or green. If we get the blue, green, white, yellow, red and purple. Last color that is applied to black which draws lines or arabesques and color is custom or add with a fine brush. 
A modern method of dyeing eggs at Easter to chemical dyes 
Eggs are boiled in salt water with 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar. Then dive into pots with colored food dyes, usually red, yellow, blue, green and purple. Then the eggs are decorated with decals or adhesive stickers with traditional Easter patterns - angels, saints, crosses, chicks, flowers, leaves, rabbits or so on. On Easter Day, after the Resurrection Service at the Church, eggs is collide by the family members in memory of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, one of the common habits of the Christian religion.  
The next day (second day of Easter) the men dress in Romanian Ethnic Costumes go to the homes of Romanian friends "the wet"girls. They sprayed girls and women with perfume and say short traditional greetings poems about prosperity, health and wealth, like this: “I heard that you have a flower here/ Because today's holiday / I came to Perfume her/ Let's bring Happiness, Health and Love / In order to not wilt / For many years to live / Wealth to receive.” Women serve them with eggs painted and decorated in the house and with cake. This Easter tradition is usually kept in Transylvania, the western part of Romania and in Hungary.  
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Referinţă Bibliografică:
Romanian Exquisites Eggs and Easter Traditions / Simona Botezan : Confluenţe Literare, Ediţia nr. 82, Anul I, 23 martie 2011.

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