Tradition with a twist
The Montreal Gazette
Painted eggs have always been a colorful part of
the Easter holiday celebrated on Sunday by the Ukrainian Orthodox and Catholics.
That tradition is now accessible to all on a developing Web site that focuses on news of interest to the Ukrainian community.
Webmaster Roman Golash started the project in 1997 as an Internet page for St. Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic Church on Iberville St. in the Hochelaga district, the city’s first.
It has grown in scope and is now a compendium of news and information of interest to the Ukrainian community of about 20,000 in the Montreal region.
The eggs are there too, featuring photos of artisans here and in Quebec City who do the painstaking work required.
“The Web page is called Ukrainian Easter Eggs-ibition, which is dedicated to artisans who are creating Ukrainian Easter eggs, as well as different exhibitions that are planned for this Easter holiday here in Montreal,“ said Golash, who works for an investment firm, but designs Web pages in his spare time.
At first it was hard to get funding for the project. But after the page began modestly as a communications instrument for the church and the number of visitors grew, major community organizations began to show interest, Golash said.
“We’re getting a lot of people who live in Montreal now visiting our site and getting the information about events in various churches and elsewhere.
“We are getting 200 visitors a day on the site, but in the past month we’re getting 400 to 800 visitors a day”
Information on Easter is part of it, but more and more people want to know about golf tournaments, summer camps and cultural events.
Information is available in English and French and there are also pages in Ukrainian, using the Cyrillic keyboard alphabet.
Christine Kozak of St. Leonard, who has been making eggs for 20 years, is one of the artisans featured on the site.
“It takes me at least three hours. You use bee’s wax and aniline dyes, a type of acrylic. It’s water based.
“At the beginning it took me about seven hours until I learned the technique. It’s not that difficult, you just have to learn it. I learned from my mother and one of her friends.”
The Web site was good public relations, but even more heard about her work from a piece on Newswatch, Kozak said.
“I made nine dozen pysanky (Easter eggs) this year. It’s like a little mosaic and when you learn what the symbols mean, it becomes like a greeting card, saying, Happy Easter, Good Wishes, Good Health.”
The Web site is: http://www.ukemonde.com/easter/