A cascarón (plural cascarones, without accent mark; from Spanish cascarón, "eggshell", the augmentative form of cáscara, "shell") is a hollowed-out chicken egg filled with confetti or small toys. Cascarones are common throughout Mexico and are similar to the 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 to make them a popular Easter tradition.
Decorated, confetti-filled cascarones may be thrown or crushed over the recipient's head to shower them 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, citywide 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 have eroded support for the practice beginning in 2003.
In order to make cascarones, one can use a pin or knife to break a hole in the end of the eggshell and pour the contents out. The shell is then cleaned out, decorated as desired, and allowed to dry, before it is filled with confetti or a small toy. Usually, glue is applied around the outside of the hole and covered with tissue paper.
Cascarones were said to be originally invented in Mexico in the mid-1800s by Emperor Maximilian’s wife, but this can not be true. Another rumor says that they were brought from China to Spain and eventually Mexico by Marco Polo. An article about Christmas celebrations published in the Los Angeles Star newspaper on January 4, 1855, includes the sentence, "In the city cascarones commanded a premium, and many were complimented with them as a finishing touch to their head dress." Maximilian and his wife Carlota did not arrive in Mexico until 1864, nine years later. It was in Mexico that the perfumed powder was replaced with confetti.
- "FRAGILE FOLKLORE. - Free Online Library". Thefreelibrary.com. 2009-04-12. Retrieved 2014-03-01.
- Monica (2011-04-21). "A Brief History of Cascarones". Mommy Maestra. Retrieved 2014-03-01.
- Hoyt, Dale. "Cascarones: Egging on Mexican fiestas : Mexico Culture & Arts". Mexconnect.com. Retrieved 2014-03-01.