Cascarones are hollowed-out eggshells, traditionally filled with confetti or toys after removal of the raw egg. They are decorated in bright colors like Easter eggs and used as presents for adults and children. Another name for them is Mexican confetti eggs.
Originally, the filling for a cascarone was perfumed powders. The practice of making cascarones is a tradition that developed in China and spread to Europe. Historians believe that explorer Marco Polo introduced them to Italy and that they then spread to Spain.
They reached Mexico in the 1800s, when the wife of Spain’s Emperor Maximillian introduced them. They got their name in Mexico from the Spanish word for shell, cascara. After cascarones became popular in Mexico, confetti replaced the perfumed powder. Cascarones have also been popular in parts of Texas since the 1970s.
These brightly colored eggs are a traditional part of Carnival in Mexico. They also have religious symbolism for Christians, representing the new life of the resurrection of Jesus. During Easter season, churches and schools in some areas make cascarones to sell for fundraisers. They add a festive touch to celebrations such as kids’ parties, housewarmings, bridal showers and baby showers.
Tradition says that anyone who gets a cascarone as a gift will have good fortune. It is common for the giver to break the cascarone open above the recipient’s head. The outdoors is considered the best place for this to be done. Indoor confetti showers might be fun, but they can be messy.
Removing the raw egg from a chicken egg without breaking the shell is the only tricky part of making cascarones. It is necessary for the person making one to prick a tiny hole in the smaller end of the egg with a thumbtack or needle. Next, he or she makes a dime-sized hole in the bottom of the egg by pricking a circle of several small holes around the bottom and then tapping the egg gently to remove the circle.
Pricking the yolk with the needle makes it easier to get the egg out of the shell. People who make cascarones usually shake or blow the egg’s contents into a bowl. They clean the egg in soapy water, rinse it and let it dry.
Commonly used decorations include stenciled designs on the outside of the shell, traditional Easter egg dye and stickers. In addition to confetti, one can fill the eggs with miniature toys, birdseed or small sweets. After decorating the egg, it is customary for matching tissue paper to be glued over the holes.