A Great Way to Celebrate Hispanic Easter
What are Mexican Cascarones?
My favorite holidays are Christmas and Easter, mostly because I love the traditional arts and crafts that come with these two holidays. This year for Easter we will be making eggs filled with confetti instead of the traditional American colored eggs.
Like American Easter eggs you make these eggs by dyeing and decorating them, with one big difference: you remove the egg from the shell before decorating and replacing it with confetti.
The best part of this Hispanic tradition is that you don’t get stuck with dozens of unappetizing, tinted hard-boiled eggs to eat after Easter. Instead, you can use the liquid egg you’ve removed to make whatever recipe you want.
According to historians, this Mexican craft actually originated in China. In the Far East, the colored eggs were filled with scented powders and frequently given as gifts, that is how they became part of Hispanic culture.
After Marco Polo visited China in the 13th century, the eggs became all the rage in the royal courts of Europe, especially in Italy and Spain. They finally arrived in Mexico in the mid-1800s, courtesy of the Emperor Maximilian’s wife Carlotta.
In Mexico, the cascarones tradition began to evolve. Instead of scented powder, Mexicans put confetti into the eggs. They then developed the tradition of cracking the egg over a friend’s head to release the confetti, which inspired the name cascarones or “shell hits.”
I wasn’t surprised when I learned about this tradition because as Hispanics we love having fun and pouring things on each other to celebrate.
My heritage is from Colombia and we don’t make cascarones there however, I read about the tradition and sounded so much fun that I incorporated it in our Hispanic heritage celebrations.
It may sound strange to others to know that several of our traditions involve throwing flour, confetti, flowers and eggs to each other so why not add one more? Eggs filled with confetti!
The Meaning of Cascarones
Many people believe that breaking cascarones over your friends’ heads brings a shower of good luck and good fortune along with the spill of confetti. Sometimes we also say you should make a wish before attempting to gently bump the egg on your friend’s head. If the egg breaks, your wish will be granted.
Cascarones also have a religious meaning. Because they are made from eggs, they symbolize rebirth and Jesus’ resurrection. Cascarones also represent the empty tomb because when you break the shell to fill it up with confetti you take out the egg yolk and egg white.
Cascarones and Hispanic-American Culture
Did you know that Hispanic-American culture is actually directly responsible for the current popularity of cascarones?
These colored eggs fell out of favor in Mexico only for the tradition to come back to life in the 1960s with the fiesta San Antonio.
Today, Mexican cascarones continue to be an important part of the Fiesta San Antonio post-Easter celebration. This tradition started in April 21st 1891 to celebrate the heroes of the Alamo battle in Texas.
You can blend American and Hispanic culture even more by adding cascarones to your family’s Easter celebration. For example, you could replace the traditional hard-boiled, plastic, and chocolate eggs we use in American Easter egg hunts with cascarones. This is a great way to gently introduce gringo friends and family to a fun and festive Hispanic tradition.
Making Mexican Cascarones
To make your cascarones, all you have to do is gently crack the top of an egg, peel away a small piece of shell, and let the egg drip out into a bowl. Rinse the egg thoroughly and let it dry.
Then use an egg dying kit or paints to decorate the egg. Allow it to dry again, then fill with confetti and close the hole by gluing a scrap of colorful tissue paper over the opening and you are ready to have fun. If you want a more detailed explanation visit my page How to Make Cascarones.