One particularly harsh and cold winter, the birds were unable to fly south. The peasants of Ukraine brought them into their homes and cared for them through the winter. When spring arrived, the birds flew off, only to return again with the most beautifully decorated eggs. These were the first pysanky.
Although today they are associated with easter, pysanky are really just a symbol of spring. Spring was a reason to celebrate, as it meant you survived the winter.