You might be asking yourself, what the heck is a cascarone (Cask-ca-roe-neh)? A cascarone is a hollowed egg that has been dyed and filled with confetti, and then resealed using tissue paper. What is the purpose of cascarones, you might now ask yourself. In South Texas and Mexico, cascarones are as synonymous with Easter as dyed hard boiled eggs are in the rest of North America.
In doing research for this post, I found that cascarones have actually been around hundreds of years, maybe even thousands. Some people believe they even started in Roman times. The egg symbolizes fertility, which is what Spring is all about. No matter which era we’re talking about, to have a cascarone broken on top of your head (covering you in confetti) is meant to be a sign of good will and good fortune for the rest of the year.
Plus, it’s really fun to break eggs on top of your friends’ heads and cover them in brightly colored confetti!
In San Antonio, you find cascarones in roadside stands by the hundreds in the week leading up to Easter. No head is safe, especially at the multitude of festivals that take place in San Antonio this time of year: Night in Old San Antonio, Fiesta, Oysterbake, Jazzfest, and the Poteet Strawberry Festival.
Today is the last day of Fiesta, and so I thought it only appropriate to tell you about cascarones. They can be a super fun craft to do with your kids in addition to your normal Easter traditions, and you can teach them about a new culture at the same time.
4-12 eggs, hollowed out
I planned my cascarone making around a dinner that was scrambled egg based. Use the end of a small teaspoon or some people use a large nail (that has been washed) to poke a hole into the narrow end of a raw egg. You want to keep poking until you have a hole that’s about an inch in diameter. At the same time, try to break the yolk of the egg with your tool, so that the egg will come out of the shell easily. If the yolk is intact, it can cause your hole to break larger upon exiting the egg.
I poured each egg from its shell into a bowl, and then made sure to get any spare shells out of the egg mixture before using it in my dinner. Then, carefully rinse each egg shell with warm water and a drop of soap. Allow to dry overnight.
When the shells are dry, you can dye them in the same way you would normal Easter eggs: Food dye and vinegar in a boiling pot of water. Typical colors are all bright pastels like blue, pink, green, and purple. I recommend starting with a base color of blue or pink (red) that you can then add more dye to (yellow or blue) to create your secondary color. That way you’re not going through quite so much water.
When the eggs are dyed, allow them to air dry again. You don’t want to try and hand dry them, because you might break the shells.
Cut 1″ x 1″ squares of tissue paper, enough to top each egg that you have dyed. Fill each egg with a few tablespoons of confetti (I made my own with a single hole punch and colored and patterned card stock, but you can buy confetti too) and then gently rub the glue stick along the edge of the hole at the top of the egg. Rub the glue stick on a square of tissue paper as well, and then place on top of the hole. Run your finger along the edge of the hole to seal the tissue paper tightly against it.
And now you’ve done it! cascarones for the whole family to enjoy. Good luck and good fortune for the rest of 2011!