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Germany Sorbian Easter Egg Decorating Tradition With Feathers And Wax Kept Alive

04/ 3/12 06:24 AM ET AP

Sorbian Easter Egg
Easter eggs are on display at a Sorb market in Schleife, about 160 kilometers (100 miles) south-east of Berlin, on Saturday, March 24, 2012. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

SCHLEIFE, Germany -- A tiny Slavic minority in Germany is keeping alive a long and intricate tradition of hand-painting Easter eggs with the help of feathers and wax.

Shortly after Christmas every year, Karin Hannusch gets to work decorating up to 600 eggs for the annual Easter market in Schleife, a center of the small Sorbian community.

Hannusch, who's been painting eggs for 26 years, says each family has its own traditional designs. She covers the eggs in melted wax and uses tiny feathers, cut into many different shapes, to decorate the fragile shells.

It's a centuries-old technique that requires great persistence – hundreds of feather strokes on each egg.

Hannusch then dips the eggs in color baths – and the wax is removed in an oven or with a hot-air pistol, leaving behind the multicolored designs.

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Karin Hanusch, a Sorb woman, paints an Easter egg at a market in Schleife, about 160 kilometers (100 miles) south-east of Berlin, on Saturday, March 24, 2012. A tiny Slavic minority in Germany is keeping alive a long and intricate tradition of hand-painting Easter eggs with the help of feathers and wax. Shortly after Christmas every year, Karin Hannusch gets to work decorating up to 600 eggs for the annual Easter market in Schleife, a center of the small Sorbian community. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

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Filed by Ryan Craggs  |