A Ukrainian Easter Egg from the Midwest of USA
Ukrainian identity remains strong outside of Ukraine throughout several generations – sometimes, with the help of a simple Easter Egg – or Pysanka – a Ukrainian tradition. Luba Perchyshyn, an artist and owner of the oldest Ukrainian Gift Shop in Minneapolis, keeps the traditional art of decorating Easter Eggs alive. Her Ukrainian roots thrive more so than those of many who have never left the home country. Not many people in modern Ukraine dress in traditional Ukrainian embroidered wear and know how to decorate an egg using the beeswax-resist method. In the video that I shot in her Ukrainian Gift Shop — in business since 1947 — Perchyshyn demonstrates how to create a Ukrainian Easter Egg.
Hundred of thousands of Ukrainians living abroad maintain connections to the land of their ancestors and keep their sense of identity through language, food, music, and holidays. Perchyshyn’s parents, just like many other Ukrainians in the early 1900s, traveled to America by boat through Ellis Island.
Feeling homesick, they found ways to maintain holiday traditions and share Ukrainian customs with people around them – during state fairs and festivals, in their workshops, shipping Easter Eggs from their modest shop in the Midwest to customers around the world. For decades, Perchyshyn has kept the Pysanka tradition alive. Born in the United States, having spent all her life away from Ukraine, she loves being Ukrainian.