Oua incondeiate / Written eggs

Legat de practica religioasa a sarbatorilor de primavara, obiceiul si in acelasi timp arta incondeierii oualor este un fenomen stravechi pe teritoriul tarii noastre, fiind insa intalnit si la alte popoare din Europa de Est. Preluat de crestinism, dar cu un continut si o semnificatie diferite, incondeiatul oualor constituia pentru lumea antica un simbol al primaverii, al reinnoirii si reinvierii naturii.

Epoca de cand dateaza obiceiul de a inrosi oua este greu de stabilit. Oua rosii de piatra s-au gasit in morminte din vremuri foarte indepartate. Chinezii intrebuintau ouale rosii cu 2000 de ani inainte de Christos, iar obiceiul era o mostenire din timpuri si mai vechi.  Religiile tuturor popoarelor au introdus oul rosu in ceremoniile cultului lor. Egiptenii aveau un obicei special la echinoctiul de primavara, cand ofereau oua zeului creator. Persii aveau acelasi obicei la sarbatoarea Anului Nou, obicei despre care povesteste un calator chiar si pentru anul 1704, care spune ca de Anul Nou (20 Mai), persii se felicitau daruindu-si oua in diferite culori. Oul avea mare insemnatate si la romani, care faceau jertfe speciale cu oua colorate (cf. Ovidiu, Juvenal si Pliniu) la sarbatorirea echinoctiului de primavara.

Incondeierea oualor s-a executat acasa, intotdeauna de catre femei, ornamentica oualor fiind extrem de variata, de la motive geometrice, la motive ce reprezinta omul, universul si natura inconjuratoare. Cel mai frecvent intalnit este cel solar, reprezentat printr-o serie de motive concentrice, cu numeroase raze. Insa inepuizabila imaginatie creatoare a marilor maestri in acesta arta creeaza o adevarata betie de motive, izvorate din gandurile lor, din viata sau natura precum: bradul, vita de vie, spicul, frunza stejarului, dar si stilizari zoomorfe – pestele, paianjenul, radasca, albina – ori reprezentand uneltele de munca – sapa, grebla, fierul plugului. Dintre motivele religioase, cel mai frecvent intalnit este cel al crucii.   
De asemenea, in vechime, culorile folosite la vopsirea ulterioara a oualor erau obtinute din surse naturale: coji de ceapa rosie si pudra de sfecla pentru rosu, coji de ceapa sau coaja de mar salbatic pentru galben, cucuta pentru verde, coaja de arin pentru negru.

Tehnica incondeierii se realizeaza cu ceara de albine topita, pe ouale intregi spalate (sau pe oua golite de continut), cu ajutorul unui instrument numit chişiţã - un bat de lemn ce are atasata cu sarma la unul dintre capete, o mica palnie din alama. Dupa “scrierea ”oualor, acestea se vopsesc. In final, ceara se inlatura de pe oua prin stergere cu o carpa infierbantata ori prin apropierea acestora de o sursa de caldura, apoi se ung cu grasime pentru a le da stralucire.  


Part of the spring celebrations religious practices, the custom of written eggs is an ancient phenomenon within our country, but it is also known in other countries from Eastern Europe. Adopted by the Christianity, but with different content and significance, the custom of written eggs was a symbol of springtime, of nature’s renewal and rebirth for the entire ancient world.

It’s difficult to say when the habit of dying eggs with red colour appeared first. Red stone eggs had been found buried in very old tombs. The Chinese utilized red eggs 2000 years before Christ and the custom was a legacy from even older times. All religions introduced the egg into their cult’s ceremonies. The Egyptians had a special tradition during the spring equinox when they offered eggs to their god-creator.  The Persians had the same tradition when celebrating New Year (the 20th of May) - tradition registered even in 1704 according to one traveller’s testimony – the time when they congratulated each other and shared gifts of coloured eggs. The egg was very important for Romans as well, who used to bring special offerings with coloured eggs when celebrating spring equinox, according to poets Ovidiu, Juvenal and Pliniu.

The “writing” of the eggs is a home activity, done almost exclusively by women, using a large variety of ornaments from geometrical motifs to others representing man, the Universe and the surrounding nature. The most common motif is the solar one represented by a series of concentric drawings with a large number of rays. But the fertile, endless imagination of the greatest artisans of this tradition had created a true exhilaration of motifs sprung from their thoughts, their daily life and nature such as: the fir, the vine, the oak leaf, the wheat ear, as well as abstract zoological motifs – the fish, the bee, the spider – or representing the daily tools – the hoe, the rake, the plough. Among religious motifs, the cross is the most frequent.

Furthermore, in ancient times the colouring of the eggs was done with natural, plant-obtained colours: red onion layers and beetroot powder for red, yellow onion layers or wild apple bark for yellow, hemlock for green and alder bark for black.

The technique of egg writing is done with melted pure bee wax on whole, washed eggs (or egg shells), using an instrument called chisita – a wooden stick with an attached small cone made of copper at one end. After the writing, the eggs are being coloured. In the end, the bee wax is removed by wiping using a heated piece of cloth, than the eggs are oiled with natural grease for shining. 

bibliography (only in Romanian): http://www.scribd.com/doc/77386809/ORNAMENTICA-OU%C4%82LOR-INCONDEIATE-DIN-JUDE%C8%9AUL-OLT

and a pattern inspired by my constant obsession - Cucuteni Culture... 

Ei bine, anul asta am primit in dar o chisita, dar si “virusul” incondeiatului. Impreuna e mai frumos si mai cu spor, dar si de unul singur e bine. Eu am folosit oua goale, ce pot fi agatate cu panglici in casa ori afara, in gradina, pentru belsug si prosperitate.
Iti multumesc, Szusszanás, pentru asa o mare bucurie! Postarea asta iti este dedicata! 

Well, this year I received a chisita as a gift, along with the “virus” of egg writing. It’s better to do it together, but it’s also fun to do it on your own. I used egg shells, which can be hung with ribbons as ornaments inside the house or outside, in the garden, for abundance and prosperity.
Thank you, Szusszanás, for such a great joy! This post is dedicated to you!

16 comentarii:

  1. Mi-ai umplut ochii de bucurie si emotii. Bucuria de a vedea ceva foarte frumos si emotia dedicatiei. Multumesc si iti doresc sa poti da mai departe mult mult timp virusul belsugului si a prosperitatii.

  2. Szusszanás si eu iti multumesc. Pentru dar, pentru incurajari si pentru bucuria impartasita a incondeierii oualor, fie ea si numai pentru o seara scurta, dar foarte frumoasa.

  3. Dear Roxana, thanks for your visit to maude poesia!
    Thanks for your words of sensibility, friendship, understanding, hope...

    Your work of beauty and art teaches us to know and love your culture!
    It is a real pleasure for us to have this kind of knowledge!

    Ah! I wrote a little poem -tried in English - and dedicated it to you, my friend.
    It is simple but came straight from the heart...
    Warm hugs and love from Brasil!

  4. Dear Vera Luiza,

    It's a great joy (and I am not using big words) for me to have the opportunity of sharing some of my people's culture and traditions with you and other friends from far away. And also to learn new things and beautiful perspectives from all of you.

    I remember you previously said about a song I posted here, that art and music will always bring people together. You were right. Thank you for your beautiful, touching dedication! After reading your words there's nothing more I could add...

    Have a good night and my best of wishes!

  5. Hi, Roxana! My kindergarten was run by the Christian church, and I remember how I loved to see many colorfully painted eggs and to receive one of them without knowing the meaning behind it. As an adult, I’ve thought an egg contains (and therefore symbolizes) essence of life and even the entire universe (universe in an egg!), while some Western bloggers say an egg symbolizes birth or resurrection.

    Now I understand that like the many of the tradition of the Christmas date back to the time before the birth of Christ, the idea of Easter egg is not originally Christian. The red eggs with the patterns of Cucuteni culture look so beautifully powerful... for bringing “abundance and prosperity.” Red color is believed to drive away evil spirit in Japan and I do believe the power of red. I like it and am fascinated when each pattern of Cucuteni symbolizes nature (including energy and human actions) as you once told me, and I believe primitive people had more knowledge about how this earth or the universe worked. Thank you for sharing these enchantingly beautiful red eggs. I enjoyed seeing them while guessing the story depicted on each egg.


  6. Hello Yoko,

    I apologize for my belated answer! I have been away for a few days, so away from my computer too.
    Yes, most traditions come from long time ago and when Christianity appeared some of its most important celebrations lap over the "pagan" ones.Perhaps mostly because the latter were so strong rooted in people's unconscious as well as in their beliefs that unless adopting those ancient customs and re-define them, Christianity would have had no chance of becoming the dominant religion. I for one would prefer people admit and accept the facts since all symbols and beliefs come from the same place and stop acting as if their church is better than all others. After all, the temple is the least important. Faith should be and also the kind of people it makes us through discovering and understanding the world around and within us.

    Even if it isn't my favorite colour, I recently felt that red really does have an intoxicating effect, as you once told me.
    I am happy you liked the written eggs and I am happy that Cucuteni culture fascinates and intrigues you. Because I have a feeling I will post some more about it since I find myself bewitched by its mysterious powers. And I don't want to become annoying with it!...

  7. Hi Roxana
    Thank you for the information about colored eggs. There seems to be many motif of the pattern but they all are marvelous.
    I don't have the custom like this so I read this blog pleasantly.
    Have a great weekend!

  8. Hello Roxana,

    Usually celebrating Easter is not common here, Christmas is quite popular though.
    Apart from a religious significance, in a broad sense, celebrating nature's renewal and rebirth in springtime long before Christianity came in makes sense.
    People in ancient times must have been much more sensitive to nature and much more connected to it.
    The Easter eggs; the red color and its pattern, look simple but somehow mysteriously powerful and magical.

    Very belated Happy Easter, Roxana.


  9. Hello Sarah,

    Thank you, I am happy you liked my written eggs! Indeed there's a lot of patterns, some incredibly hard I would never have the courage to try which require a lot of practice and, I would add, special skills... This is the first year I've tried making them and to be honest I'm proud of what came out. It's such a great feeling when you see them finished, as if they didn't come out from your hands!

    I also like to read your blog and discover interesting and very beautiful customs you have.
    I realized that even though we seem very different, there's a lot of similar things (coming from ancient times I think) binding all of us together.

    I am sorry for not answering you any sooner and I wish you a great Sunday!

  10. Hello Keiko,

    Thank you very much for your Easter wishes and I apologize for my belated answer!
    Though I am not practicing my religion and I really... hate some christian customs we have for Easter - the slaughter of the lambs in particular - I'm trying to respect my peoples choices and I enjoy seeing them celebrating.
    But I am rather attracted by the old renewal of time customs we were passed on which in time blended with the christian ones. I don't know why, I just am...
    I think you are right: people from old times really listened and understood the nature. They lived as a part of it and maybe because of that, my impression is that they were more authentic and sincere in their joy of celebration than we are these days. For many of us, feasts like Christmas or Easter have lost their spiritual meaning and became simple occasions to cook a lot of food, to just eat and drink.

    All the best and have a great Sunday!

  11. simply fantastic work! greetings from tulipland...

  12. Thank you very much, Jana!
    You had some fantastic adventures yourself. I mean diving with the turtles and flying with an over 60 years old plane to photograph the tulips? Wow, I am very impressed, not just anyone could do that!

    I am happy for your visit and I'm sending you my warmest greetings from the surroundings of the Carpathian mountains...

  13. Sunt foarte impresionat, atat in privinta rezultatului incondeierii oualor dar si amintindu-mi de seara in care te-ai molipsit de frumusetea si bucuria acestui mestesug...

    Sunt foarte frumoase si este unul din acele lucruri in care suportul il ofera ntura iar noi doar il infrumusetam, cu putina culoare si suflet...

  14. Cum spuneam, se poate si de unul singur (cu suportul naturii si-al oamenilor dragi pe care ii purtam in noi), dar impreuna este mult mai frumos...

  15. Hi roxana,
    I found this lovely blog through cosmos's blog where the dragon deity was being talked.

    I do not know if there is any ceremony in Japan for which eggs are used. Eggs are sources of the vital energy and associated with new life. Beautifully colored eggs seem to symbolize coming spring and its joy very well.
    Thanks a lot for sharing this wonderful blog.
    keiko from Nara, Japan

  16. Hello, Keiko!

    Thank you very much for your beautiful words, I am glad you've found something you like on my blog. You are right, since ancient times eggs had been a powerful symbol of the life-creating universal energy and maybe that is why they had been used in so many rituals and celebrations.
    Red colored eggs are a very important part of the Easter rituals and I think it just wouldn't be Easter without them. At least for some people.
    I for one prefer the old customs. I imagine people were merrier and more respectful with other beings, with nature in general, back then!

    My warmest wishes and have a good week!