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Cascarones--an egg-cellent tradition.

Decorated eggs are a traditional part of the Easter season. In Mexico, cascarones, confetti-filled eggshells meant to be broken above the head of a friend, are part of the holiday celebration.

It is not known for certain where cascarones originated, but many people believe they were first brought from Asia to Italy by the explorer Marco Polo. These eggs were given as gifts and were often filled with perfumed powder. The custom traveled from Italy to Spain and was finally brought to Mexico in the mid-1800s by the wife of Emperor Maximilian. In Mexico the powder was replaced with confetti.

To make a cascaron, ask an adult to use a paring knife to carefully make a small hole (no bigger than a dime) in the top of a fresh egg. Let the insides drain into a bowl. When the egg is empty, rinse out the shell and let it dry. Be careful--the eggshells are very fragile. Use the yolk and white for cooking, and keep the shells in a safe place until you are ready to decorate them.

Before your celebration, dye the shells and carefully decorate them with paint or markers. When the design is dry, use a small spoon or funnel to fill the egg with tiny pieces of colored paper. A hole punch can be used to make a lot of confetti very quickly. Paper is then glued over the hole to keep the confetti inside.

Hide your cascarones at outdoor Easter-egg hunts. When a cascaron is found, the finder runs up to a friend and squishes it over his or her head. Many people make a wish as they break the egg. According to tradition, a confetti shower brings good luck to both the one who breaks the shell and the one above whose head it is broken.

Enjoy this tradition from Mexico. We think you'll agree it's egg-cellent.
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Title Annotation:decorated eggs
Author:Wade, Mary Dodson
Publication:Highlights for Children
Geographic Code:1MEX
Date:Mar 1, 2002
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