Ukrainian Easter towel. What should it be and how should it look like?

At Easter, Ukrainians go to church to consecrate Easter baskets filled with Easter kulichi, krashanky (painted eggs), and food for the family to eat during the holiday dinner.

However, it is also very important not to forget to decorate the basket with a candle and Easter towel (Ukrainian rushnyk). The first embodies the divine light that each of us carries inside and gives to the world. The second symbolizes the wealth of threads which kinda “weave” our mind and heart.

On the whole, the thread is a symbol of infinity and eternity of life. In ancient times the cloth used for towels was never cut in order to not “waste” infinity. Instead, the cloth was torn using a sharp stone. Ukrainians still have the tradition to serve Easter bread on a consecrated Easter towel.

Ideally, a good wife should embroider the Easter towel. In that case, it will “embrace” her warmth and energy. However, nowadays not all can or want to embroider. So, we’ve gathered some tips for what the right Easter towel should have in case you are planning to buy one.

Easter rushnyk. What should it be?

1) The towel must be sewn of natural fabrics. It must be woven cloth - flax or cotton.

2) The Easter towel should be cross-stitched. The main thing is that the image shouldn’t be printed.

3) This towel is thematic and the embroidered images must have the festive meaning - the joy of the Resurrection. The towel must have embroidered letters "XB" or the full form - “Христос Народився” ("Christ is Risen"). The towel should also have the embroidered images of Easter bread (symbol of fertility), candles, and Easter eggs (symbols of rebirth and eternal life).

Colors of the Easter embroidery

Each color of the Easter embroidery has a powerful energy. Traditionally, the towel was embroidered in black and red colors. The black color is considered to be the color of death and the afterworld. The red color stands for the life, defense, and the blood shed by warriors for the native land. Used together, these two colors symbolize the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ.

The white color is a symbol of love and innocence. The yellow color stands for joy. Blue, green and pink colors embody spirituality. The blue color represents water as well as symbolizes purification and peace of mind. The purple color embodies male and female essence. Green is the uplifting color of spring and youth.

Images of the Easter towel

The Easter towel also has different magic signs and symbols. Dashes stand for the earth and crosses symbolize human beings. The Easter towel should have krashanky (Easter eggs) as symbols of rebirth and eternal life and Easter bread as a symbol of fertility (in Christianity it also means the replacement of the Old Testament with the New). These are the main images typical to canonical Orthodox towels

However, you can add your own images if you wish. For instance, you can embroider flowers that inspire joy, love, and something pure and beautiful. You can also embroider hens and Easter rabbits on towels. These “characters” are borrowed from Catholics and are mostly found on kids' embroidery.

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