One of the best parts about Easter during my childhood, aside from the egg hunt, the baskets, and the candy, was cracking cascarones. These are cleaned eggshells that are filled with confetti and decorated and then cracked on a friend’s head. I won’t be going to Arizona for Easter, but I wanted to reminisce some childhood memories so I looked up cascarones online. The history of its origin is uncertain but some sites suggest they originated in China, were brought to Italy, and then to Spain, and were originally filled with perfumed powder. In the 1800’s they were brought to Mexico where the Mexicans swapped the powder for confetti. The Mexican version usually only has a colorful egg, but I grew up in a mixed Native American-Mexican family where we preferred decorating not just the egg but long cone stems made of rolled up newspaper.
Making cascarones is easy but there are many different ways, and it’s time consuming, so I’d suggest you set aside some of your Saturday to sit with your family and try it. After removing the yolks (from one end of the egg) let the eggshells dry. While they are drying, cut up some confetti and put them in a bowl. If you want to do it my way, role up some newspaper into sturdy cones. Cut one side of crepe paper into fringes and then carefully curl the fringes with an open pair of scissors. Wrap the cones with the curled colorful crepe paper (glue in sections as you wrap). Fill a now-dried eggshell with confetti, close it with tape, and glue the cracked end to the cone.
Cascarones are fun for children of all ages. I seem to remember the adults more than the kids enjoying surprising one another with a good smack. They also have a religious interpretation (Spanish Missionaries wouldn’t have it any other way) and can represent the risen Christ, like a chick emerging from its egg. Have fun making them and cracking them. Suffer the clean up on Easter Monday.