Pisanica (pl. pisanice) is a decorated Croatian Easter egg that comes from an old Slavic custom dating back to pagan times. During Easter, eggs would be painted with bright colors, and would be given as gifts, especially to young children or a significant other. Before paint became common, villagers would have to use whatever resources they had available around them to make the dyes and paints themselves. The most common color for eggs was red, due to the abundance of red beets and other vegetables. In the Međimurje area, soot would often be mixed with oak to make a dark brown color. Green plants would be used for green dye. The word pisanica is derived from the Croatian word that means "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.
The day before Easter, Roman Catholics and other Christians go to a late night mass carrying a basket of traditional food (including bread, cheese, and eggs (either pisanicas or regular eggs). During the mass, priests bless the food, which are kept for the next morning to eat.
On Easter day, a traditional game is played in which at least two people choose eggs and hold them vertically while one person lightly taps the end of the other egg with their end, to see whose will crack. Anyone whose egg cracks must choose another and then tap the other person's egg, and they continue until all the eggs have been used and cracked but the last one. Whoever holds the strongest egg in the end which has not been cracked, wins.
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