Making Pisanica is a long and very colorful tradition of beautifully painted Easter eggs prepared by families during Easter time in Croatia. Croatian Easter eggs—Pisanica—stem from an old Slavic custom dating back to pagan times.

For Easter celebrations eggs would be painted and would be given as gifts, especially to kids or significant others. It was common for young men to give the girl they admired a Pisanica. Pisanica eggs are also used in a very popular Easter game: two players gently tap two eggs against each other until one cracks slightly. The one with the fully intact egg is the winner. The name of the game is tucanje – a word that also means to have sex. So, be sure you understand the meaning of tucanje if you plan to invite somebody to play this game—don’t mix it up!

Before artificial colors started to be used the most common color for eggs was red made from red beets and red onions. The eggs would be boiled in the onion or green grass, barkwood. It is also very popular to put leaves around the eggs and boil them together, which puts a beautiful leaf pattern on the Pisanica.

The word Pisanica is derived from the Croatian word for “writing.” The most common phrase put on Pisanicas is Happy Easter, or “Sretan Uskrs.” Other common decorations are doves, crosses, flowers, traditional designs, and other slogans wishing health and happiness.

Marica Bilek from village Narta in Croatia prepares eggs with a plant called Zukva, which grows around water. The inside of the plant is a small white line that is used for decorating eggs. In days gone by, there was no glue, so people used flour and water to stick patterns on Pisanica. Decorated parts were made from dyed wool.

Eggs were on the table during Easter and were not used for tucanje because they were empty inside – before decorating them egg was blown out.

You can find out more about the traditions of Bilogora county on the Facebook page Boje Bilogore, run by traveler and photographer Antonija Putic, who states that “I was always thrilled with the wonders of the world, but like every traveler, I love my home very much. And it makes me very happy to present the tradition and culture of my home to the world. That is why I take any chance to go around Bilogora and explore. Also, it makes me very proud to present my granny Marica and her amazing artwork. She is the true artist of our family. ”

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Marica Bilek (80) and her hand decorated eggs and crocheted angels

Angels and Easter eggs – Pisanica

Traditional Pisanica from village Narta – made with plant Zukva and wool

It takes few hours to make one Pisanica

Every Pisanica is different

Pisanica will stay on a family table during all holidays

Happy Easter from Croatia