Signs and Symbols
What makes Ukrainian eggs so special, is that each one has it’s own particular, unique message, blessing, or
expression of hope, love, beauty.  They can be very simple or extremely intricate and complex, but still contain
the same artistic impact.  Each person who is fortunate enough to see the uniqueness of this art form is
touched by them in their own way.  The history and geographic breadth of this art form is in itself staggering.  
Most people in modern days have never heard of this art, which has been shaped and changed to what it is
today over time, by politics, and religion.  

It is my hope to share the joy and knowledge that creating these eggs has brought to me.  On this page, I've
listed a few of the many different signs and symbols that are traditionally used in decorating pysanky, and their
meanings.  Some of them have more than one meaning, which is a result of the coming of Christianity as well
as the differing traditions of each region.  These eggs have been a part of many cultures since pagan times,
and the egg was thought to have magical qualities.  It remained a powerful symbol in Christian times, but some
of the "pagan" meanings were given more Christian meanings.  
Color also has an important role in symbolism.  
Many of the egg designs and symbol definitions on this website were found in several different
books that are
excellent resources for learning how to make Ukrainian eggs.  The following table lists some of the meanings I
have come across in the books I have used, and is in no way meant to be exhaustive.
48 triangles
In ancient times, a prayer would be said for each triangle, representing some aspect important to life - water,
earth, air - birth, life, death, - the sun, moon, stars and so on. Triangles can also represent the Holy Trinity, or
things that come in threes.
8-Pointed Star
An ancient symbol for Christ and can also signify rebirth. Wisdom, elegance and beauty
Knowledge, health, and wisdom.
Most birds signify the coming of spring. Roosters, a masculine symbol, denote a rich married life and many
children.  Hens denote fertility.
Circle inside Triangle
The eye of God.
Christian Faith, In pre-Christian times the cross was used as a symbol of life. Ukrainians adopted Christianity in
988 AD and have used the cross as a symbol of Christian faith.
Wealth and prosperity
Represents the stars in heaven, or the tears of Mary at the crucifixion of Christ.  Stars and Constellations, also
symbolizes that from sorrow come unexpected blessings.
Beauty, wisdom, and humility, elegance and beauty, love and charity, life and growth.
Flowers and leaves
Wisdom, elegance, beauty, life and growth.
Wealth and prosperity
Prayer, rising to Heaven, searching, good husbandry.
Eternity, eternal life.
Represents Jesus fishing for men, also separating good from evil.
Oak Leaves
Strength and persistence, as of the mighty oak tree.
Can also represent the cycle of life and death, the leaf dying in fall and being replaced in spring.
Retains color throughout the year and is a symbol of eternity. It is also a symbol of love and is used in the
making of wedding wreaths.
Beauty, elegance, and humility.
Pine Needles
Represents the evergreen tree, eternal youth, long life, health, stamina, and virility.
Poppy Flower
A favorite of Ukrainians and widely used on pysanky. It is a flower of dreams, fertility, beauty and youth. It also
symbolizes infinity of the universe.
A common tool which the peasant needed to provide a plentiful harvest for his family.  It represents good
husbandry and prosperity.
Strength, leadership, and creativity, dignity and perseverance.
Ram's Horns
Leadership, and the kind of strength that overcomes problems.
Fire, the symbol of life giving heat.
Spirals or Curls
Strength, leadership, and creativity, the mysteries of life and death, divinity or immortality. Can also signify
defense or protection.
Variations of the star is used extensively, representing eternity seen within the egg, signifies completeness.  
Also represents God's love toward man, purity and life, eternal life and good fortune.
The symbol of life, also can signify the love of God.
Geometric symbol for groups of three; the holy trinity; father, mother and child; birth, life and death.
Abundance and productivity. Wealth - you can't have a crop without rain.
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