Cascarones tradition ties Hispanic heritage to Easter holiday

by: NICOLE TRUGILLO/Editor-in-Chief

Around Easter time, many may have seen children, or adults, run around with colored eggs filled with confetti in their hand, or they may have seen them at the stores.

But many people don’t realize where the confetti egg originated from and why.

The Hispanic Student Organization at South Plains College hosted a panel discussion on March 23 in the Founder’s Room of the Student Center on the Levelland campus to explain the origin of cascarones (confetti egg).

“In Spanish, cascara means shell, and cascaron means eggshell,” explains Celeste Franco, president of the Hispanic Student Organization. “Confetti eggs are rumored to have originated in China and were brought to Europe by Marco Polo. In Italy, they were used as a courting ritual. It was for dating, and they didn’t hand them to the women they liked, they threw them.”

According to Franco, the men would fill the eggs with perfume, and the eggs were capped with wax.

“Men would throw them at women who they found attractive,” says Franco. “It eventually moved into Spain, and it was brought to Mexico.”

Maria Lopez-Strong, multicultural services coordinator at SPC, says that when you break a cascarone over someone’s head, it can stand for good fortune or good luck.

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Celeste Franco, president of the Hispanic Student Organization, in the Founders Room on March 23. CHESANIE BRANTLEY/PLAINSMAN PRESS

“The historical part of it is when Marco Polo did go to China,” explains Lopez-Strong. “Then he came with the egg and it smelled good. Then it spread from there to Spain, and Spain brought it to Mexico. Of course, everything that is in Mexico spills over into America and particularly in Texas, because after the War of the Alamo, that’s when they wanted to start the tradition again with the cascarone because it died down like most things do in history.”

Strong recalls a time when her husband was first hit with a cascarone.

“My husband didn’t know anything about the Spanish culture,” explains Strong. “He told me, ‘Your brother just hit me on the head with an egg. He doesn’t like me.’ And I said to him, ‘he does like you, and it’s something that we do every year.’ He said that he never heard of it. It’s something we have taught our kids, like the coloring confetti.”

Miranda English, an advisor on the Levelland campus, also recalls a time when she was visiting her boyfriend’s family in Galveston and they celebrated Easter with cascarones.

“All of this family was going to be there for this Easter,” recalls English, “and when we pull up, there’s about 75 people at this farm house. They are standing around looking at me. I get out of the car, and I start to go towards them. When that happened, they all started to run at me. They have cascarones and they start cracking them and throwing them at me. But that was them welcoming me to the family.”

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Lola Hernandez, director of Advising and Testing , says that cascarones mean something more spiritual to her.

“When you get an egg and it’s white, and you look at the colors, and you think of the beauty of spring,” says Hernandez. “You think of the emptiness of the egg. When we were kids, they taught us in church that it signified the tomb of Christ. For us, it took on a religious role, because we were taught these things as kids. We weren’t taught necessarily about where they came from. We came and broke the cascarones at the people that we love, because it signified love.”

After the panel, members of the HSO passed around papers explaining more in depth where cascarones came from and how to make them for those interested in making them during the Easter holiday.

For more information about joining the Hispanic Student Organization, or for more future events, contact Strong at mstrong@southplainscollege.edu

 

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