Dyeing Easter eggs is an intangible Croatian tradition

As Easter just almost here, it would be a shame not to present something that is an intangible Croatian tradition and a part of every Croatian family that celebrates Easter.

Photo by Monika-Grabkowska at Unsplash
Photo by Monika-Grabkowska at Unsplash

The intangible Croatian tradition

The  “pisanica” is a traditional Croatian word for an egg dyed for Easter. The word originated from the old Slavic term for writing and coloring. Today it symbolizes a new life and Jesus’ resurrection but there are also some historical facts that indicate egg dyeing in past Pagan times.


The red-dyed ‘pisanica’ would symbolize devotion to God and charity

Eggs or “pisanica” can be dyed in natural or artificial colors and can be decorated in various ornaments but also blank and simply in one color. Depending on which color you dye your “pisanica” carries a part of symbolism based on that color. So, for example, the red dye would symbolize devotion to God and charity, the white color would be light, rebirth, joy, the yellow dye would be youth, good harvest, the gold dye is wisdom, black “pisanica” would be death and fear, blue color on pisanica will always mean truth, pink is prosperity and so on.

The blue color on ‘pisanica’ means truth

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

There are so many artificial industrial dyes made especially for Easter eggs but in Croatia, there is still a strong tradition of dyeing the “pisanica” the natural way. Some of the common ways to naturally dye the egg are with a peel of the onion or by beets for reddish colors, oak peel for brown, and spinach was often used for getting that green color.

The yellow dyed ‘pisanica’ symbolizes youth and a good harvest

Often before cooking eggs with those ingredients to get the color eggs would be decorated with wax then the wax ornaments would be peeled off after the color cooking.

The tradition of dyeing Easter eggs

Also, the way pisanica eggs would be decorated and based on their ornaments, you could also read some symbolism.The

The white colorer ‘pisanica’ brings light, rebirth and joy


Ornaments based on geometry such as lines, triangles, and squares. Triangle usually symbolized the Holy Trinity, dots would often mean tears of Virgin Mary, spirals held the meaning of eternity, immortality, the mystery of life and death. There were also often other motives portraited on Easter eggs, such as flowers (beauty and elegance), fruit (friendship), wheat (prosperity), oak branch (power, masculinity)

Andreja Pruša
Andreja Pruša Horvatić, editor in cheif

The pink colored ‘pisanica’ means prosperity and  the gold one  symbolize wisdom 

But why are there so many symbols present on just a simple egg peel? Well, as Easter is a –Christian holiday, the egg inside the peel represents a new life that comes out of the peel. Therefore, it represents the symbol of new life and Jesus’ resurrection.
That is why in Croatia, but also in other countries with strong Christian identity people carry Easter eggs to the holy mass to get them baptized.

Happy Easter! 


Photo by Jez Timms for Unsplash

Related Posts

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons