Cascarones: the Confetti-filled Eggs That Make Easter the Most Colorful Fiesta of the Year
Since it falls at the beginning of Spring, Easter is one of the most colorful and lively events on our calendars. Across Latin America and the United States, festivals celebrating semana Santa and Easter are full of gorgeous decorations, festive performances and some of the best food you’ll eat all year. However, if you live in Mexico or in the Southern US, you’ll be aware of another tradition that celebrates the shades of Spring: cascarones.
Cascarones are hollowed chicken eggs that have been dyed and filled with confetti or small treats. These bright party favors have a long history and an enduring place in Latinx culture. In North America, cascarones were originally used in Mexico during Carnaval. They have since combined with the celebration of Easter but are also popular during New Year’s Eve, Christmas, birthdays, quinces and other fiestas. In fact, if your guests aren’t getting hit over the head by confetti eggs, can you really even call your event a celebration.
After you see this list, you might want to add these vivid eggs to all future party plans.
1. We can thank Marco Polo for cascarones.
Though they first came to Mexico in the 19th Century, cascarones have been around for much longer. Merchant and explorer Marco Polo first brought the favors over to Spain from China during the 13th Century. Cracking the decorated eggs over the heads of prospective sweethearts became a European courting custom before making it’s way over to Mexico.
2. Confetti wasn’t originally used.
Confetti wasn’t the first surprise inside cascarones. In Europe, they were originally filled with colored and/or fragrant water or powder. The eggs were sealed with wax and made for a much messier party favor. Cascarones wouldn’t be made with confetti until the custom traveled to Mexico.
3. A new tradition is born.
Easter egg hunts aren’t traditionally a thing in Mexico but that doesn’t mean eggs have no place there. When cascarones became intertwined with Easter, passing out confetti eggs to festival attendees became a custom. The mock confetti fights are called papaqui or guerra de cascarones and they can be pretty intense.
4. Cascarones reflected in la Cultura.
Like so many aspects of Latinx culture, cascarones have found their way into our art. This gouache painting by Texas artist Carmen Lomas Garza depicts a memory of time spent with family, decorating cascarones. Depictions of family and culture are a prevailing theme in Chicano art and Lomas Garza’s nostalgic take on this Easter tradition is no different.
5. Cascarones and the Jesus connection.
Besides Carnaval being closely tied to Easter, there is another reason why cascarones makes sense during this holiday. In pagan mythology, the egg has long been a symbol of rebirth. Many pagan customs were absorbed into Christianity in its infancy. Since Easter is the Christian celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, it only makes sense that eggs find a convenient place within the holiday.
6. A craft project and ammunition.
A big part of the fun behind cascarones is making them. In order to prep eggs for confetti, a tiny hole is made in the shell in order to drain the insides. Once the inside is rinsed out and dried, they can be decorated. The final step is to fill them with confetti or other goodies and to seal the hole with a bit of crepe paper.
7. Buy them by the dozen.
Of course, you can always skip craft time and buy already made confetti eggs. In the States, cascarones are usually sold by the dozen in grocery stores during the Easter season. Additionally, churches, schools, and youth groups also make and sell confetti eggs as a fundraiser during Carnaval and throughout Spring. You can even find cascarones for sale on Etsy and through Amazon.
8. Literally art.
Cascarones are made to be destroyed but that doesn’t mean they can’t be works of art. Besides a traditional dip-dye, cascarones can be painted by hand and adorned with extra embellishments. For example, these lovely floral painted eggs are reminiscent of Mexico’s glazed ceramics and tile.
9. Cascarones are just plain magical.
Like any artform, cascaron decorating is only limited by the artist’s imagination. You can find eggs that are embellished with paper, gold leaf, flowers, and other common objects. Cartoon characters, sports franchise symbols, and mythological creatures are also popular cascaron decorations.
10. Let’s get creative.
The simple cascaron is the ultimate mock battle ammunition but vendors have found ways to improve upon them. Cascaron puppets come in popular fantasy characters and are sought-after in Mexico. Kids — and kids at heart — can play with the puppets before busting them open over each others’ heads.
11. A party favor with extra party.
When you think party, you probably think piñatas. These cascaron piñatas combine two fun ideas in one. A cascaron is placed on a decorated paper tube or cone and candy and treats are hidden inside. For double the fun, take the whole piñata cascaron and whack it until it cracks.
12. Fun that will go straight to your head.
While we appreciate the artistry behind a beautifully crafted cascaron, we haven’t forgotten their original purpose. Though they started off like an old-timey flirting tool, they’re now all about fun and a healthy dose of competition. The objective of any good cascaron fight is to get as much eggshell and confetti into your opponent’s hair as possible.
13. Never too young to learn tradition.
No one’s excluded from cascarones during Easter. For babies, the colorful eggs are an immediate fascination and those “baby’s first cascaron” pictures are perfect for Insta. Just be careful about their delicate heads. Crack the eggs in your hands first before dousing los bebitos in confetti.
14. Even pups get in on the party.
Speaking of adorable Instagram pics, your pup can get into the cascaron party too. Just like with babies, you want to pre-creak your eggs to avoid hurt perrito’s furry, little head. Your dog is sure to get hyped up when a full-on cascaron battle kicks off and you’ll have a new partner to corner your opponents.
15. Wear your confetti crown with pride.
One aspect of cascarones that is both fun and frustrating is that confetti is almost impossible to remove. This might cause you to walk around with a confetti crown for a few days but fear not! Tradition dictates that those confetti storms are actually showering you with good luck. Suddenly a scalp covered in confetti sounds pretty good.
16. Cascarones are perfect for sibling rivalry.
When you’re a kid, you have very little agency of your own so you’ve got to take power where you can get it. Cue the cascaron battle royale. Do you remember using your stash of confetti eggs to annihilate your primos and hermanos? We do and there’s a photo album at there somewhere to prove it.
17. Some things you don’t outgrow.
However, the fun doesn’t have to stop when childhood ends. You never really outgrow beefing with your siblings and cousins and — with cascarones — you never have to. It’s all in good fun; even if your Easter egg fight looks more like a war zone than a family gathering.
18. Confetti = family fun.
Like any other holiday, Easter comes down to spending time with family and those you love. That’s why cascarones are so great. No matter who you are — young or old — you can have fun making or cracking the confetti eggs. If nothing else, you can sit back and enjoy the colorful vibrancy the eggs left behind.
19. You’ll never stop finding confetti.
Speaking of those little paper reminders: they will end up EVERYWHERE. This is why paper confetti is ideal in the cascarones. The paper will decompose quickly and leave no harm to the earth. If you want to go even more environmentally friendly, you can add seed to your cascarones. Also, you can just straight up buy confetti with the seeds embedded that will decompose and release the seeds. Mother Earth will thank you!
20. Most importantly, have fun.
Easter is very much the celebration of Spring. For many places, it’s the first time of the year we’ll actually experience sunshine and clear skies. What better reason to celebrate than that. ¡Feliz Pascua!
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