We have Marco Polo to thank for Cascarones

From the Editors, General

This post was written by Jessica Fernandez.

Why we color Easter Eggs

At one point we have probably all sat around a table with hard boiled eggs and dunked them into bowls filled with food coloring. We do this once a year at Easter, but why? Decorating eggs is an old tradition started by early Christians in Mesopotamia. The eggs would be stained red in memory of the blood of Christ at his crucifixion. Pope Paul V blessed the egg in a benediction and the church adopted the custom by placing emblems of the resurrection upon them. The hard egg of the shell is to symbolize the sealed Tomb of Christ.

Today, Easter eggs are used for egg hunts or egg rolling at the White House. The eggs placed in children’s baskets are multi-colored and filled with toys or candy.

How old is the tradition of Cascarones?

Another use for eggs at Easter is to make cascarones, or “confetti eggs.” These are colored eggs filled with confetti. Cascarones are associated with many Latin traditions but it was first seen in Asia. Marco Polo, a Venetian merchant, brought the tradition to Italy. The eggs were originally filled with powdered perfume and used as part of the courting ritual. Men would throw them at women they found attractive.

Today, we fill the eggs with confetti or glitter (no glitter ones please, they are super messy!). Having a cascarón broke over your head is said to bring you good fortune, and having one smashed on your head is a sign of affection.

So, whether you are hiding eggs for an egg hunt or breaking cascarones over someone’s head there is fun for the whole family!

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