German minority keeps Easter egg tradition alive

Published April 3, 2012 10:27AM (EDT)

SCHLEIFE, Germany (AP) — A tiny Slavic minority in Germany is keeping alive a long and intricate tradition of hand-painting Easter eggs with the help of feathers and wax.

Shortly after Christmas every year, Karin Hannusch gets to work decorating up to 600 eggs for the annual Easter market in Schleife, a center of the small Sorbian community.

Hannusch, who's been painting eggs for 26 years, says each family has its own traditional designs. She covers the eggs in melted wax and uses tiny feathers, cut into many different shapes, to decorate the fragile shells.

It's a centuries-old technique that requires great persistence — hundreds of feather strokes on each egg.

Hannusch then dips the eggs in color baths — and the wax is removed in an oven or with a hot-air pistol, leaving behind the multicolored designs.

By Salon Staff

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