Pysanka (писанка in Ukrainian) is an Easter egg decorated in a Ukrainian way. Its name comes from the word pysaty 'to write', as the designs are not painted on, but written with beeswax. The making of pysanka's is a living and important tradition for the Ukrainian community living in Estonia. Every traditional design used to decorate the eggs has its meaning and desired effect. In addition to the pre-Christian patterns every decorator adds something original to the egg. In earlier times the knowledge and skills related to pysanka-making were passed down from mother to daughter. These days both women and men are engaged in decorating eggs.
In the Ukrainian community living in Estonia, pysanka-eggs are made once a year during Easter time and people take them to church. Such decorated eggs are a source of pride for the family. No effort is spared in order to have the most beautiful eggs, and in church people compare their eggs with those of their neighbours. In earlier times the decorated eggs were carefully hidden until going to church, so that neighbours or acquaintances could not see them or copy the pattern.