New Middletown woman continues Polish tradition of coloring eggs

A woman in New Middletown takes egg decorating to a whole new level by keeping one Polish tradition alive

NEW MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – There are many ways people celebrate the Easter holiday, most traditions include coloring eggs as a fun craft for children.

Rather than using food dye or store-bought kits, one woman from New Middletown uses a unique family tradition to color her eggs.

Halina Romanek follows the Polish tradition of skrobanki, scratching the surface of a pasanka with a sharp tool to reveal its white shell.

Pasanka is the Polish word for egg and pasanki is its plural form.

Romanek starts by painting a hard boiled egg, then etching the surface of it with a razor blade to make fancy designs. Each egg comes out completely different.

“I grew up with it. My mom in our family is the pioneer of doing [it],” she said.

Back in the day, only women were allowed to make the eggs, which were decorated the Friday before Easter.

Romanek has been making pasanki for four years now, saying it has taken a lot of practice, cuts and broken eggs, but she now has the technique down.

“You have to get used to it, but you know what? Once you learn it’s just like riding the bike, it comes naturally,” she said.

Now, she can make an egg in just 15 minutes.

“You know, I do believe that everybody has a gift and everybody has a little ‘artiste’ in them, I’m it,” Romanek said.

She explained that the eggs have a very special meaning.

“[An] egg symbolizes the growth of everything, like everything comes to life all again. From Christianity point of view, it symbolizes that Christ is being risen and once again, new hope and faith for the Christians,” she said.

Even though Romanek sells her pasanki, she says it’s not about the money, but about enjoying herself.

“When I see the people’s faces, how happy they are, that’s the reward,” she said.

Her hobby has also helped with the arthritis she has in her hands.

“The way I hold the egg, the way I hold the razor, I have no pain,” Romanek said.

The final step in the process is to seal the eggs with a thin layer of nail polish.

“I personally like the nail polish, clear nail polish to give the shine, but you also can use the regular cooking oil,” Romanek said.

This year, Romanek has sold more than 100 eggs. She sells them for $2 at The Hometown Pharmacy in Cornersburg and other locations in Pennsylvania.