For Texas Standard producer and reporter Kristen Cabrera, memories of Easter celebrations consist of 90 degree weather in the Rio Grande Valley, BBQing fajitas surrounded by lots of cousins and, most of all, cascarones.
For many Texas families, cascarones are a staple in their children’s Easter baskets. These colorful and painstakingly handmade confetti eggs have just one purpose: to be smashed on someone’s head.
With the hollowed-out eggs as ammunition, my family would stage what was tantamount to a friendly battle royal, with everyone trying to catch one other off guard for an opportunity to crack a cascarón atop someone’s head. We weren’t alone in this tradition.
“We would crack the Easter eggs on people’s heads, and it was all in fun,” says Norma Elia Cantú. “There were some mischievous kids and adults who put stuff in them like flour. And you never knew who was going to get that one.”
Cantú is the Murchison professor of the humanities at Trinity University in San Antonio where she teaches Chicano and border studies, folklore and literature. She says cascarones are a tradition that many Mexican-American families have, going back generations.
“Well, like most South Texans and Northern-Mexico Mexicans,” she said, “we have a tradition during Easter of preparing the cascarones during Holy Week, dyeing them, stuffing them with confetti, covering them up, decorating them. And I have very fond memories of my childhood when my aunts from Mexico would come visit Laredo and help us decorate the eggs.”
I remember watching my mom and grandmas delicately crack the tops of each egg at breakfast, setting the shell aside to dry out and eventually be decorated and filled weeks later. All these memories got me thinking, why not share this tradition?
If you want to join in the fun, here are directions for making your own cascarones:
– Large bowl
– Cupcake pan
– An empty egg carton
– Colorful tissue paper
– Paints, egg dye, markers or crayons for decorating
Step one: Crack the eggs. The trick is to crack only the top of the egg on the side of the bowl. Then, put your thumb in the broken piece and lift it off like a lid.
I set the egg yolks aside for a frittata and even separated some egg whites for a meringue. They’re not needed for the cascarones but I didn’t want to waste food.