Hungarian folk art has one of the most ancient traditions in the world. Decorated eggs are part of this culture. Our ancestors were preparing carved eggs even before their conversion to Christianity, as proven by artefacts found in tombs from the Avar era.
Nowadays the tradition of decorating eggs is widely known, since it is observed throughout the Carpathian Basin from Prekmurje through Felvidék (former Upper Hungary) to Transylvania. The most important Christian holiday is Easter. As the days of celebration approach, young girls and married women prepare Easter eggs to give to their loved ones, friends, and acquaintances in return for being watered (also known as sprinkled).
The book titled ‘Message Written in Wax’ offers to help the Reader prepare these presents. It describes the technique of wax dyeing from simple motifs to multicoloured, complex patterns, while also offering insight into the secrets of plant-based dyes.
The book takes the Reader on an imaginary journey throughout the Carpathian Basin, and displays our ancestors’ collection of motifs by introducing 15 important regions. Prekmurje, Sárköz, Gyimes, Hétfalu, Árapatak, and Háromszék have preserved these motifs as part of their living traditions.
The author presents more than 800 photographs to demonstrate the Hungarian collection of motifs to the Reader.
Anikó Lévai in her review writes: “Tradition is not a piece of treasure to be kept in a display case. It is value very much alive, changing through us and with us. Ildikó Fekete, through her beautiful book, presents us with a piece of our own history, when just before Easter we start carefully decorating eggs to convey our message written in wax onto the shells of eggs.
The book is available for 65 USD. (The price contains shipping cost.)