April 09, 2012

Me, the Queen and some very special Easter Eggs

On Saturday, my mom and I went on a long planned nice little trip to The Spreewald. It's only about 100 km south-east of Berlin. It's home to the descendants of the first settlers in the Spreewald region, the Slavic tribes of the Sorbs/Wends.

This is what it looks like there. There are more than 200 of these channels and the main way of transportation is by boats like this:

Geraman Wikipedia says that between April and Oktober the postman only comes by boat!
This would be the garage ;-)

One of the Spreewald's specialties are Spreewald gherkins, which have been prepared there for hundreds of years.
That's why each year in July there is a competition for The Pickle Queen, who I had the pleasure to meet yesterday:

The Pickle Queen in her Traditional Dress
The Sorbs of the Spreewald preserved a lot of their old traditions. Especially one of them is the reason why it's a very popular place to visit around Easter. They make the most beautiful intricate eggs using a very old technique, which I've been wanting to learn for the longest time.
Yesterday I had my chance!!!!

The queen and two very sweet girls (former queen and vize queen as well) who were all my age taught me how to do it.
Here is what it's supposed to look like:

And this is what I came up with and I have to say I'm very proud of it ;-)

With this technique you use goose feathers that are cut in a certain way to apply bee's wax onto the egg shell. It's kinda like batik dyeing. Whatever the wax covers stays white when you dip the egg into the yellow dye. Then you apply more wax ornamants to preserve some of the yellow before you dunk it in orange. I did one more layer of wax before I stopped with red. There are endless possibilities! I think it took me two hours and I was so happy my mom had the patience to give me all the time I needed. I was so thankful that I decided to give that egg to her. She was touched. For me it was a dream come true and from now on I will probably make at a couple of those each year.
I also learned in a book that there is a small community of Wends in Texas who also cultivated their traditions and even use patterns for the eggs that have been forgotten in the Spreewald!

Here are two more pics showing similar but different techniques:

Here the ornaments are scratched into the already dyed eggs.
This is similar to what I did, but you use colored wax that stays on the eggs. Of course those eggs dont like hanging in the sun too much.


  1. Beautiful. We used to make them when I was little. My grandparents lived in Romania and told us about them...so we had to try it.

  2. What a great trip, that sounds like so much fun.. and your egg turned out so beautiful! xo

  3. Your egg is beautiful Sana - how exciting to actually learn the process behind those stunning eggs.

  4. Beautiful! I tried to teach myself something similar once - my mom has a kit for the style using colored wax to decorate the eggs. I wasn't terribly impressed with what I came up with, but it was fun to try!

  5. Those eggs are beautiful! I'm totally impressed by yours. There is no way I would have the patience for that! And look, you already have a fun field trip for the next time you are in Texas!

  6. Your egg is wonderful. This traditional egg decoration is really beautiful :)

  7. Wow! Those are beautiful!!! I am so amazed at the talents of others. I love the traditions too! One reason why I love Germany/Europe. There is so much tradition! It would be really hard to find something like that in America! Thanks for sharing!

  8. It looks like a wonderful place to visit. I love your egg and thank you for sharing some of the history of the tradition!

  9. Wow! Beautiful Easter eggs.. You are so creative!

  10. Great job on that egg! I know its not as easy as it looks. My family does polish Pysanky which is a similar technique (uses a wooden 'needle' to draw instead of a feather).

    You should come see this : http://thepewteracorn.blogspot.com/2012/04/liebster-blog-award-and-some-good-blog.html

  11. Many years a go one of my students gave me an egg like that which had been decorated by his Serbian grandmother. I kept it for many years till the colours faded and it didn't look nice anymore.