Confetti eggs are a festive tradition that originated in Asia, traveled through Europe, and eventually migrated to Mexico in the mid-19th century. According to the original tradition, hollowed-out chicken eggs filled with perfumed powder and decorated in lively colors were given as gifts in Asia and various parts of Europe. When the tradition made its way to Mexico, powder was replaced with confetti. Mexican confetti eggs, known as cascarones, traditionally appear decorated and filled for use during fiestas just before Lent, the period of religious preparation leading up to Easter. Mexican tradition claims good luck befalls those over whose head a confetti egg is broken.
As Mexican and American traditions merged over the course of the late 19th century and into the 20th century, confetti eggs become more closely associated with Easter in the United States. Since American traditions call for decorating boiled eggs for Easter, blending the tradition of cascarones with Easter eggs became commonplace, especially in areas with large Mexican populations. In Mexico, however, cascarones are still traditionally associated with carnival activities in preparation for Lent.
The term cascarone derives from cascara, the word used in Spanish-speaking cultures for eggshell. Whether termed confetti eggs, Mexican confetti eggs, or cascarones, all such terms mean the same thing: a hollow egg filled with confetti used during celebrations of Lent or Easter. Friends, neighbors, and family members give them as gifts, or break them over loved ones’ heads to bring good luck.
The process for making confetti eggs is simple, allowing for much creativity on the part of the artist. At the small end of the egg, a hole small enough not to disrupt the integrity of the eggshell allows the contents to drain. To prevent any mess, contamination, or illness, any remaining yolk or egg white is rinsed out and the eggshell dried. Confetti may include bits of colorful paper, pieces of newsprint, glitter, sequence, or a mixture of several such materials, which are then used to refill the eggshell. Damp tissue paper, newsprint, or a bit of glue covers the opening in the egg, much like papier-mâché techniques.
Decorating the exterior of confetti eggs can be done before or after filling the eggshell with confetti. Egg dye, often obtained in kits used for coloring Easter eggs, is an easy option for coloring the eggs. Alternatively, artistically inclined decorators can use watercolors, tempura paint, stickers, small embellishments, or other means to decorate the exterior of the egg. The idea is simply to make the cascarone festive and lively until smashed against an unsuspecting loved ones’ head.