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Cracked-up surprise.

Making breakfast for 25,000 people sounds like a lot of hard work, doesn't it? And volunteering to crack all the eggs for the meal--just to keep the empty eggshells--sounds crazy! During San Antonio's annual Cowboy Breakfast, though, lots of volunteers are eager to help. That's because these eggshells will become cascarones (cas-cah-RONE-aze).

Cascarones means "eggshells" in Spanish. They are hollow eggs that have been dried, cleaned, decorated, and then filled with confetti. The best way to use a cascarone is to smash it over someone else's head, preferably when he or she isn't expecting it. Remember, though, once you've surprised your friend, you're fair game to get "smashed," too.

People in Mexico and parts of the Southwest celebrate most happy occasions with at least a few cascarones--and some events call for thousands.

Confetti litters the street during San Antonio's ten-day fiesta, held each year in April. During one of its biggest events, Night in Old San Antonio, crowds go through more than 100,000 cascarones, using up plenty of those empty eggshells from the Cowboy Breakfast. People often ambush their friends with the colorful eggs. Then they spend the next morning shaking confetti and glitter out of their own hair after their friends get them back.

No one knows for sure how the fun of smashing cascarones began. They may have come from China to Italy during the 1400s to 1600s. At that time, Italians filled the empty shells with perfumed talcum powder. Other European countries copied the idea. An emperor's wife probably brought cascarones to Mexico when Mexico was ruled by France. No matter how the eggshell smashing began, the eggs have been a joyful part of Easter festivities, dances, weddings, and parties in Mexico and in parts of the United States.

Many people in San Antonio make cascarones, and city schools often use them to raise money. You can make some yourself, with a little help.

RELATED ARTICLE: Making Cascarones

1. Have an adult nearby to help you. Use a spoon to carefully tap out a small hole (about the size of a nickel) in one end of a raw egg. Let the contents drip out into a cup. (If you have trouble getting the egg to come out, you can make a much smaller hole at the other end and gently blow out the contents.

2. Rinse the shell, inside and out, and et it dry completely. (Continued on the next page.

3. Paint, dye, or decorate the egg any way you like. Be careful not to crush the shell!

4. When the paint is dry, fill the egg with confetti, glitter, or cut-up newspaper. Using a funnel makes this easier.

5. Line the rim of the hole with glue.

6. Place a round piece of colored paper over the hole. Tissue paper or leftover gift wrap works well. Press very gently until it holds.
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Title Annotation:includes directions for making cascarones; hollow eggshells filled with confetti called cascarones are part of annual festival in San Antonio, Texas
Author:Johnson, Carla
Publication:Children's Playmate
Date:Apr 1, 1995
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