Cascarones or confetti eggs are festive, hollowed-out chicken eggs filled with confetti or small toys. They are rumored to have originated in China and been brought to Europe by Marco Polo. In Italy they were first used as a courting ritual, filled with perfume and then capped with wax. Men would throw them at women they found attractive. The custom then traveled to Spain and was later brought to Mexico in the mid-1800s by Emperor Maximilian’s wife. It was in Mexico that the perfumed powder was replaced with confetti.
In Spanish, cáscara means shell and cascarón means eggshell. Cascarones are common throughout Latin American and are similar to the American Easter eggs popular in many other countries. They are mostly used in Mexico during Carnival, but in US and Mexico border towns the cultures combined making them a popular Easter tradition.
Decorated, confetti-filled cascarones may be thrown or crushed over the recipient's head to shower him or her with confetti. In addition to Easter, cascarones have become popular for occasions including birthdays, Halloween, Cinco de Mayo, Dieciséis, Day of the Dead, and weddings (wedding cascarones can be filled with birdseed). Like many popular traditions in Mexico, cascarones are increasingly popular in the southwestern United States. For example, they are especially prominent during the two-week, city-wide festival of Fiesta in San Antonio, Texas. Cascarones are usually made during Easter time.
Having a cascarón broken over one's head is said to bring good luck, however concerns over salmonella poisoning eroded support for the practice beginning in 2003.
In order to make Cascarones, one can use a pin or knife to break a hole on the end of the egg and pour the egg out. The shell must then be cleaned out, and decorated as desired and let dry. After it is dried, it is usually filled with confetti or a small toy. One should then apply glue around the outside of the hole and cover with tissue paper.
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- South Arizona Folk Arts, University of Arizona
- Cascarones Instructions from ZOOM
- Cracked-up Surprise