Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Easter in Texas

I realise Easter was a month ago, but this is the first chance since we've been on the road that I've had a chance to sit down and put some thoughts together.

One of the holidays I miss the most living in Australia is most certainly Easter. It's not that the Aussies don't celebrate Easter, because they do. It's also a pretty big deal in Australia and in some ways bigger than Christmas with the shops closing and people having public holidays on Good Friday and Easter Monday. It's just the way that Australians celebrate Easter that strikes me as uninspired. Well, hang on a minute, I love the idea of a public holiday and will gladly take those, but after that, the Aussies have a lot of chocolate and that's pretty much it.

I've never seen Easter Egg colouring kits in Australia and I've never known any of my Anglo Aussie friends to actually colour Easter eggs since I've lived there. We've had friends and family who are part of the Orthodox church share their tradition of colouring eggs and then playing this game where you try and crack each other's eggs. Whoever has the last egg that isn't cracked wins the game. It's fun and light hearted, but in my experience their eggs are only one colour--red or maybe blue. They used regular food colouring to colour them and don't have any fancy swirls or glitter or anything remotely fun like that.

We've had the fortune of spending the last three Easters in Texas with my family. All of these occasions have been filled with heaps of fun and my children will have many lovely memories of sharing this special holiday with their American cousins.

What makes our Easter so special each year? A little something called, cascarones. Historically a Mexican tradition, our proximity to Mexico has seen this endearing ritual spill over the border and into our hearts and minds. Like anything worth doing, cascarones take a lot of time, love and care.

Here's how we do it...during the year, my Mom will start saving eggs for us to colour. Each time she uses eggs for cooking, she cracks them a special way (using a knife to break off one end) and drains the egg out keeping the shell mostly in tact, except for a hole on one end. She then rinses the egg shell out and puts it aside to dry. My sister -in-law does the same at her house.

When Easter weekend rolls around, we pull out all the egg shells that have been put aside. Then on Good Friday, we have an Easter Egg colouring session. We get out several long tables and set the kids up outside with aprons on and colours galore. They spend the next several hours colouring the egg shells beautiful colours. Because the shells are empty, they are a bit more delicate--there are always a few casualties, but with 18 dozen or so to work with we can afford a few mistakes. The kids are surprisingly gentle with the eggs and have a great time creating lots of different colours with them. We put the eggs back in the cartons to dry.

They dry overnight and then sometime on Saturday afternoon, we have another egg preparation session. This time we give each kid their own bowl of confetti and they begin to fill each egg with a small handful of confetti. The holes at the top of the eggs are pretty big so it's not too hard for little hands to accomplish this task. We usually direct them to hold the egg over their confetti bowl so that any confetti that doesn't make it in the hole just falls back in the bowl ready for the next egg.Once the eggs are filled with confetti, they are placed back in the carton to await the next step.

I don' t know about you, but I can already see the fun brewing in these eggs!

While the kids are busy with the confetti, the adults generally sit around and start the sealing process. This involves small squares of tissue paper, some glue, a toothpick and a bit of patience. First, we take the glue (your Elmer's variety is fine) and spread it around the opening of the egg with a toothpick.
Then we carefully place a piece of tissue paper over the hole and smooth it down over the glue. This acts as a seal to keep the confetti on the inside of the egg.

Here is a carton of eggs with their seals waiting for the glue to dry. We leave them overnight.

On Easter Sunday, the Easter Bunny comes along and hides all these gorgeous eggs in the garden. This is when the fun really begins...


Nathalie said...

What a great tradition. Looks like a lot of fun. We colour our eggs different colours (normal food dye) and if we are feeling inspired (or actually have some time)will put some onion skin on them to create a pattern.
On another note, I'm missing you all. Can't wait to see you again and give those gorgeous kids some cuddles.

Rita said...

oooh I want to know more!! Sounds like fun! In tradition of the US Easter I carry on with an Easter Egg hunt for Madelyn. She loves it! I even scout out to find an easter egg basket for her to use. I haven't blogged it yet either! Goodness I am slack.

Annelise said...

Isn't it funny how the parents do it up more for the grandkinds than for their own kids? Your mom never had 18 dozen hollowed at eggs for us to do...that or you didn't invite me! lol. In which case stick to the "grandkids" story.

suzinoz said...

Nathalie--the kids send hugs!

Rita--It is fun. Glad you and Madelyn still hunt the eggs. I can't imagine Easter without that aspect.

Annelise--I think you are right on with the grandparents theory. I've also noticed that my Mum never bought us Caprisun when we were kids (too expensive she told us), but she hands them out to my kids by the bucket loads. They can drink as many as they like. Hmmm....interesting.

Jenny said...

Those eggs are beautiful! What a wonderful tradition. I agree that Aussie Easter leaves a little something to be desired.

suzinoz said...

Thanks Jenny. We have fun making them each year. Will have to bring the tradition to Australia one day.

Erin said...

What a fantastic tradition! I have seen cascarones for sale in markets on visits to Texas in the past. But I never considered dying them and treating them as Easter eggs! Great idea! And wonderful tutorial & photos! I completely agree about Easter in Australia. It leaves something to be desired. So glad you had a fantastic time!