The Mattatuck Museum on West Main Street in Waterbury is hosting a Lithuanian Folk Art Easter Egg decorating workshop, on April 9 from 10 am to 12 noon. Participants will join Valerie Rogers for a folk-art experience celebrating the Lithuanian egg decorating tradition known as marguciai. Participants will use a scratching/etching method to create beautifully intricate designs. Participants will use a scratching/etching method to create beautifully intricate designs.
For Lithuanian Christians, Easter (Velykos) is the most sacred of holidays. It follows 40 somber days of Lenten moderation and marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Each spring, Lithuanians commemorate the Passion of Christ by attending church services throughout Holy Week on Palm Sunday, Holy Wednesday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday.
While the rites of these services are comparable to those in other parts of the world, many Easter traditions observed outside of church liturgy are uniquely Lithuanian. Holy Saturday is dedicated to painting Easter eggs (margučiai) and preparing the Easter Sunday feast. Traditional Lithuanian Easter eggs are stained with natural dyes extracted from bark, leaves, fruit, and vegetables. Stained margučiai appear in solid colors or patterns created when leaves or other materials are pressed onto the eggs during the staining process.
More famously, Lithuanians are known for their ornate margučiai, which are either hand-painted or hand-carved into magnificent works of art. With the hand-painted method, they use the tips of needles and other sharp objects to paint intricate patterns with hot wax. Then, after the wax hardens, they dip the eggs into colorful dye. After the eggs dry, they are heated and then pressed gently with towels or paper to remove the wax and reveal the pattern. With the hand-carved method, wax is not used. Instead, these eggs are dipped in dye first. After they dry, designs are etched into the shells with a finely tipped, sharp object. Both methods require artistic talent and patience and both result in extraordinary, heirloom-quality margučiai.
In Lithuania, the Easter Granny (Velykų Senelė) delivers Easter eggs and treats to children. Children often prepare for the Easter Granny by leaving empty homemade egg nests outside their homes in gardens and shrubs. On Easter morning, they wake to search for their hidden margučiai treasures.
All supplies for this workshop are provided by the Mattatuck Museum. No experience is necessary. There is limited space for this workshop and it is recommended that you register early. The cost is $25 for members and $30 for the general public. To register click here.