Sunday, April 12, 2009

Alleluia! HE is risen!

Happy Easter, everybody!!!! :D

The Easter Vigil last night and Mass this morning were amazing. There were flowers everywhere in the church and it was beautiful. It was a little bit unfortunate that there weren't very many of us there last night, and I was surprised, because the church had been packed for the Christmas Midnight Mass. However, it was pretty full this morning. Afterwards, everybody received a boiled egg and there was a small lunch party. 

Last week I posted a photo of a pysanka that had just finished its bath in the black dye. That was before I melted the wax off of it. ^^  So, you start with an egg. Use a fruit knife or a pin (if you're very patient) to gently pick out a hole in both ends of it. The smaller the hole, the longer it will take to blow out the contents, but the more aesthetically pleasing it is, too. Shake the egg and maybe use a needle to stir up the insides. Then, making sure you don't have any chapstick or hand lotion on, you just put your mouth over the top hole and blow, blow, blow. 

They sell neat contraptions nowadays, things like the "Blas-fix," which do all the egg-emptying for you with no real lung power needed on your part. Tempting as these gadgets are, I think it's better to blow those eggs the old-fashioned way. Builds character. 

Up until this year, I always used a flat-headed pin stuck into a pencil as a stylus for what is called the drop-pull method of egg decorating. You mainly use exclamation-point-like elements in your designs. You have to keep going back to the candle for more melted wax, and it's hard to control the width, so you can't get too detailed with drop-pull. 

This year, I used some kistky, styluses with a funnel at one end for melted beeswax, to draw heavy, medium, or thin lines on the eggshells. You have to have a design in mind first; then, going from lighter colors to darker, you put the egg through a series of dye baths, drying it thoroughly and applying more wax in between. When you've finished the design, you hold the egg close to the base of a candle flame and watch the wax melt and drip off... 

Actually, I had hoped to have a lot more eggs finished by Easter, but... got busy. Oh well, I'll still be decorating for a while, so I'll post those pictures as they come along. 

Although this tradition of egg-decorating predates Christian times in some places, the symbolism of the egg as returning life remains, and with Christianity comes its symbolism as the empty tomb. The empty tomb being proof of the Risen Lord, all the more reason to decorate and display it. 

Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God's throne!
Christ, our King, is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!

Rejoice, o earth, in shining splendor,
radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! glory fills you! 
Darkness vanishes for ever!


This is the night
when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.

For Fr. Z's great translation of the Latin and rendering of this awesome song, go here
(for the text in English and Latin, check out wikipedia here)


Sue said...

Happy Easter! Christ is risen! It sounds like we spent our Easter much like you did -- at church! The kids sang at the Easter baptism party in the afternoon, and as at any Japanese gathering there were many long speeches ;-). So, it was a long, but blessed day.

Those eggs are absolutely incredible!!! I am not sure that I would have the patience. I know that my daughter would love to do it though. Maybe next year I will have her study up on it, and we'll give it a try.

Mom said...

Happy Easter, Jas! The Exsultet is a favorite part of the Easter Vigil, only the ringing of the bells and the organ blast as the lights come on is most moving. Lumen Christi ... Deo Gratias!
You are getting more accomplished each year with the eggs. Patience and a steady hand! They are all amazing - I like the lighter blue one best! You must pass along this talent.
Love, Mom