Easter eggs from the Czech Republic, called "kraslice," can be found before and during Easter celebrations in Prague and elsewhere in the Czech Republic--one of the most important holidays in the Czech Republic is Easter, after all. While families decorate eggs according to their own traditions, and many, for the sake of ease, use commercial egg-decorating kits particularly with children, traditionally decorated Czech Easter eggs can also be acquired as souvenirs at markets and in shops.
These eggs may exhibit the use of special techniques or designs that are particular to regions in the Czech Republic and represent an aspect of Czech culture that is shared with the pagan past of other countries in Eastern Europe.
Czech Egg Decorating Techniques
Most Czech Easter eggs are decorating using the batik method, which requires dye to be applied at different stages during the decorating process. Other decorating techniques include removing dye by scratching the surface of an egg to produce designs, decorating the surface of the egg with straw, creating a relief affect by applying wax, or encasing the eggshells in fine knotted wire.
Czech Easter Egg Colors and Designs
Czech Easter eggs can appear in almost any color. Orange, black, yellow, and white are seen on many eggs, but eggs may also be dyed in blue, lavender, green, or pink. Some color combinations are strictly traditional, while others incorporate the artists' own whims and tastes for a modern twist.
While geometric and floral designs dominate the world of Czech Easter eggs, eggs that depict designs reminiscent of church windows, human figures, or animal figures (such as roosters) can also be seen. Artists who stray from traditional designs let their imaginations guide them when decorating eggs and may incorporate scenes from their environment or well-wishes on their eggs.
Regional Czech Easter Eggs
Various regions in the Czech Republic have become known for the development or use of certain egg decorating techniques and styles. For example, Valassko (Wallachia) Easter eggs are decorated in red, orange, and black with figural motifs like girls and roosters. South Moravia is known for its decorated eggs created using the scratching technique, which sees eggs dyed in a single color, which is then scratched off to expose the white or brown shell underneath the dye. You'll likely find a variety of different eggs in Prague, but touring the country during this time could also reveal interesting finds in the world of egg decorating.
Czech and Slovak Easter Egg Decorating Traditions
The Czech Republic and Slovakia may share some egg decorating traditions with each other as well as with other parts of Eastern and East Central Europe. For example, the practice of covering the egg with knotted wire was developed as a Slovak tradition but also became a popular Czech tradition--this technique requires skill due to the contrast between the strength of the wire and the fragility of the eggshell, making these a striking and unusual type of egg decoration. Motifs and color combinations may be cross-cultural, and while traditional styles prevail, egg artists are continually adding their own inspiration to the world of decorated Easter eggs.
This means that any eggs you get from the Czech Republic or elsewhere in the region will be truly original works of craftsmanship that pay homage to a centuries' old tradition that connects today's people with generations past.