Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Brief History of Cascarones

At the insistence of una amiga, I finally got my act together, and helped my kids make cascarones. To be honest, it was our first time to do so.

And since I promised to go over and post a picture of our finished creations on Thoughts of a Mommy's FB page (She is collecting pictures! Go post yours over there!!), I couldn't do that without first sharing them with you.

But before I do, I want to be sure and share with you the history of cascarones (thank you, Claudia, for asking me to do so!) because it is very interesting.

What Are Cascarones?

First off, in case you don't know, cascarones are brightly colored/decorated eggshells that are filled with confetti. They may be simply made by children, or elaborate, hand-painted masterpieces by artists. Here in the States, they are used during celebrations, typically around Easter. In Mexico, they are popular during the time of Carnaval. But really, people may use them during any festive occasion.


Where Did They Come From?

According to historians, cascarones originated in China. It is rumored that Marco Polo first brought them to Italy, and on to Spain, and they eventually made their way to the Americas. In the beginning, the eggs were quite elegant and valuable; instead of confetti, they were filled with perfumed powders, making them popular with high-society women.

They became quite popular in Mexico in the 1860s, after Emperor Maximiliano's wife, Carlotta, introduced them to the country. In Mexico, the powders were replaced with confetti and given their name "cascarones," the plural form of "cáscara," which means shell in Spanish.

Today, the tradition of making and using cascarones to celebrate is mostly popular in the Southwestern United States, though areas of Mexico still use them. Many say that good fortune falls upon the person who has un cascarón cracked over their head - and smashing one on someone's head is actually a sign of affection. Young adults often use them to engage in mild flirtation.

I've created a bilingual minibook for elementary-aged children with this history. It includes coloring pages and even directions for making your own cascarones. It's a fun little resource for parents and teachers.



You might also be interested in these two books:

The Legend of the Cascaron by Roxanna Montes-Bazaldua (only available on Kindle with full text in both English and Spanish)

Dance of the Eggshells: Baile De Los Cascarones (English and Spanish Edition) by Carla Aragon



How Do You Make Cascarones?

Spanglish Baby and Prudent Baby both have fabulous posts on making cascarones, so I'm not going to give you step by step instructions. But I will share with you a quick photo tour of our adventure in making them:

First, we drained the eggs by making a small hole and then washing out the empty shell.
Then we colored them using a traditional egg coloring kit.

While the colored eggs were drying, we spent ages making confetti using
colored cardstock and a hole punch.


Hours later and with sore hands, we finally had enough confetti and eggs!

We made a simple funnel from some recycled paper, then added two spoonfuls of confetti.

A little glue around the edges of our hole....


Followed by a nice tissue paper "cap"


A few stickers and other embellishments, y ya! The cascarones are done!
(A few were lost in the whole process. Empty eggshells are a little delicate - especially when handled by little fingers.)

Con mucho cariño...

6 comments:

  1. Monica: that is the way I used to make my cascarones! For my B-Day, my mom used to order them by the hundreds! Thanks for sharing their history. I would have never imagined they came from China!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow! Hundreds! That's crazy. But I bet you had the time of your life!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Bring back memories of my birthday parties in Mexico. I also remember being One cascaron filled with flour ... So everyone was on edge when they had a cascaron smashed on their head dreading it would be the one with flour.

    ReplyDelete
  4. What do you do with them once they're made?

    ReplyDelete
  5. We use them during our Easter egg hunt then sneak up on each other and crack them on another's head.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I did these with a class several years ago, but we made a game of 'tag' out of it. The last one standing WITHOUT confetti in their hair was the winner!

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...