Whirlwind Romance

A rush of emotion dropped a veil over all but the tiny world of the two people in seats 11A and 11B, in a jet plane floating somewhere over the Atlantic, in a still moment in time.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Welcome to the Easter Blog Hop


Eggs have always been associated with rebirth and immortality, which is why they are often seen as a symbol of the Resurrection. In Orthodox Church tradition, Mary Magdalene went to Caesar Augustus to convince him of Jesus’ resurrection. He scoffed that there was as much chance of a human being coming back from the dead as there was for the egg in her hand to turn red. She held it out for him: as he watched, the egg turned red.

In Eastern European countries, Easter eggs were thought to have magical powers of protection, including from evil spirits and crop loss. Russian homeowners used to place an Easter egg under the foundation of their house to ensure the prosperity of the inhabitants. There was a belief that eggs laid on Holy Thursday and eaten on Easter would protect one from illness. Consecrated eggs were considered to have the power to put out fire and so were kept near the hearth. Russians believed that an Easter egg given from the heart will never spoil.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union many Eastern European Easter customs have been revived. On Easter Sunday, Slavic families take baskets of painted eggs to friends, neighbors, and even to cemeteries to lay at the graves of relatives. Polish, Slavic and Ukrainian people still use the traditional method for painting eggs, in which the artist draws an intricate design on the egg with a wax pencil, then dips the egg in color made from onion peels and bits of dyed silk boiled together.

Here in America we generally stick with those flat little boxes containing colored tablets and stick-on paper bunny ears.  You’ll usually find two different types of egg decorators. First, there are those who (either for aesthetic reasons or laziness) go for the single dramatic color, letting their egg wallow in one cup until someone complains. The second type is the one who can’t make up her mind, dipping here, dipping there, never quite willing to commit. I’m of the latter variety, with the result that my eggs are generally washed with three or four indeterminate hues, ultimately ending up brownish purple.

When I was in graduate school in Chicago, a friend decided to have an Easter egg decorating party. Our little circle included Arabs, Armenians, Ukrainians, Greeks, Turks and a smattering of Americans. The host set out the usual PAAS paraphernalia, plus chalks, wax pencils, paints and colored pens. We went at it, pausing regularly to hydrate of course (vodka IS mainly water, right?).  When we’d finished, everyone displayed their creations.

This time I outdid myself. I etched shapes in wax before dipping, the result being two or three stick figures barely visible in the brownish purple. The others’ eggs weren’t much better. That is, until we came to our Ukrainian friend. Jaroslav shook his head gravely and swore his mother would be ashamed of him, then held up this beautiful egg,  painted in an elaborate pattern of scarlet and black. In that simple creation lay a perfect example of the profound influence culture has on its people. Jaroslav wasn’t an artist, but he saw his egg with an eye nurtured on Slavic artistic designs and unconsciously executed it.

Murmurs of appreciation all around, then everyone took a furtive swig of vodka and the host pulled out a pack of cards.

Hoppers! I will randomly choose one comment to win a pdf copy of one of my 4 romantic suspense stories (your choice). Please visit the next spot on the hop for more fun & games. Here's the link to the hop:

27 comments:

The Desert Rocks said...

Happy Easter to you!

M. S. Spencer said...

Thank you! Same to you. M. S. Spencer

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Meredith, I loved your idea for an Easter egg decorateing party. I had no idea that an Easter egg under your house could bring prosperity. Dang, let me get out the shovel and get busy.
Beautiful blog.

M. S. Spencer said...

Sarah, you have to have put the egg under the house--I don't believe they spontaneously appear!But good luck anyway--you never know what you'll find. Happy Easter! Meredith

Rhonda D said...

What wonderful Easter fun facts! Thanks. Thank you for participating in the hop as well. I hope you have a blessed Easter.
slinkydennis@yahoo.com
Rhonda D

Anne said...

I was given some wooden Russian Easter eggs. They are gorgeous.

acm05atjuno.com

M. S. Spencer said...

Thank you Rhonda--you too. I have some wooden Russian eggs too, Anne. I love the intricate designs. Marjorie Meriweather Post managed to collect some of the famous Faberge eggs the Russian aristocracy commissioned after the fall of the empire--you can see them at her house/museum in DC: Hillwood. Happy Easter all!

JeanMP said...

Thank you for telling us those Easter fun facts. I have always admired anyone that can paint those fabulous Easter eggs. Just amazing.
Have a Happy Easter.
Jean
skpetal at hotmail dot com

Sherry said...

Thanks for the very interesting post. Thanks for the giveaway.
sstrode at scrtc dot com

IreneRJ said...

Happy Easter! Enjoyed read about the eggs. When our boys were young we tried to colour their eggs and they always ended up looking like sludge.
irgl7(at)bonzo15(dot)plus(dot)com

Debby said...

Happy Easter to you as well! I belong to a female educator's sorority and we are learning about egg painting this week.
debby236 at gmail dot com

M. S. Spencer said...

Debby--what exactly is a female educator's sorority? M. S.

She said...

I haven't dyed eggs in a long time. I was one who'd leave an egg in a color to get a deep shade of the color. Thanks for sharing your story of Jaroslav. Happy Easter!

M. S. Spencer said...

Just so long as the egg is red, She! M. S. Spencer

hotcha12 said...

HI MER! WISHING YOU A HAPPY AND BLESSED EASTER!

Lisa said...

Hope you have a Happy Easter

Wolphcall(at)bellsouth(dot)net

Kat said...

Happy Easter!
kathalsteaddgo@yahoo.com

M. S. Spencer said...

Happy Easter everyone! I'll post the winner of a copy of one of my four books tonight--check here tomorrow (& I'll email the winner). Happy Easter everyone!

Victoria Adams said...

One of my more cherished possessions is a hand painted Ukrainian egg I bought as a child at a market. Every Easter it is brought out and carefully displayed then stored under glass for the rest of the year.

M. S. Spencer said...

How lovely! I have a Ukrainian sister-in-law who makes these hors d'oeuvres that look exactly like mushrooms--what an art! M. S.

Mel B said...

I do have some wooden eggs from Russia. I love the history behind this.
Thanks.
Mel
bournmelissa at hotmail dot com

Janice Seagraves said...

What a great story. My mom is an artist and cultivated that application in each egg she decorated and my sister and I tried to copy her example.

Happy Easter.

Janice~

LKF said...

I love decorating eggs and now that the kids are grown and gone, I still do it. I take a picture and send it to them so they can see my masterpieces. They laugh at it, then try to out do me. I have very competitive kids. I also like the hydration part. it keeps the creative juices flowing. :}
Have a Happy Easter
Lynda
lyndakayefrazier@yahoo.com

Savannah Chase said...

We decorate eggs the old European way..You color them in the skins of onions... We also use food coloring..It is fun to decorate them and keep the traditions going.

Shadow said...

Happy Easter! Thanks for the giveaway!
shadowluvs2read(at)gmail(dot)com

Shannon Leigh said...

Hope you have a great Easter.

Shannon Leigh
author_shannon_leigh at hotmail dot com

M. S. Spencer said...

LKF--you're too funny. I'm glad you don't stop doing something just because the kids are gone--I think they know when your heart's in it. M. S.