The magic of cascarones is widely known throughout Latin America as an innocent way of playing a prank on your loved ones during various holidays and festivities. Cascarones are confetti-filled eggshells that are decorated with bright colors and covered with tissue paper.
Oftentimes, families will save the carefully hollowed-out eggshells from their morning breakfast for a month or two before Easter weekend. These eggshells are then thoroughly cleaned and dyed in bright colors or left undyed, before filling with confetti and then covering again with a thin layer of tissue paper or clear tape. This makes it easy to run up to an unsuspecting loved one to crack it over their head.
But did you know the story of cascarones began in China?
It is said that after Marco Polo visited China in the 13th century, he found colored eggs filled with scented powders that were often given as gifts. He shared this finding with the royal courts of Europe, and that’s how they made their way to Mexico in the mid-1800s through Emperor Maximilian’s wife Carlotta.
Once they found themselves in Mexico, the eggs began to evolve, and instead of scented powder, they were filled with confetti and cracked over people’s heads. This inspired the name cascarones, which translates into “shell hits.”
The tradition of cascarones made its way to the United States with the large migration of Mexicans to border towns. You can find the cultural adaptation of this tradition in states like Texas, California, and the southwest states of New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada. While they are used year-round in Latin American countries to celebrate birthdays and other festivities, the Mexican-American culture combined two cultures to make this an Easter tradition in the United States.
Cascarones are so popular in some states like Texas, they have issued warnings about leaving confetti paper behind after Easter picnic celebrations. Easter is a time for family, fun, and relaxation but also a time to be mindful of your footprint if you are going to participate in this festive tradition!