One thing I learned early in my youth ministry career, do something with youth once and it’s a tradition; do the same thing twice and it is sacred tradition. It happens much the same way in our families. For my children, ever since they were little (about 6 six years ago when they were 3 and infant) we have had chocolate Santas hidden on/in our Christmas tree. It’s the first thing they look for when the tree goes up and as the old children’s song goes “Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the Christmas candy.”
A similar thing is happening with our Easter celebration. My oldest has a birthday on April 2, which is usually not far off of Easter. Having spent my university years in Texas, I was introduced to many Mexican traditions, and one of my favorites was cascarones– confetti filled eggs. I think I love cascarones because of the symbolism I find in them.
Eggs represent new life, but confetti eggs stand for more than just that. Each egg is gently broken open at the end, preserving the integrity of the rest of the shell. Then the shell is dyed in a brilliant color: blue, turquoise, hot pink, red, yellow, purple. Next the shell is filled with multi-colored confetti pieces and the shell is resealed with a color-matched tissue paper. It is then ready to break open the festival!
The egg also represents the tomb. But here’s the part I love best! When the egg/tomb is reopened, the confetti spills out in a multi-colored celebration of the empty tomb–technicolored life busting out and scattering everywhere.
I love to break the eggs outside with my boys and let the confetti spread out all over the patio, the grass, the ground, the people, the table, the chairs, the garden….everywhere! My husband wants to sweep it up immediately, but I won’t let him. As we say in Godly Play, “The Mystery of Easter is so great that we need 50 days to celebrate it!” (That is, the season of Easter lasts clear through to Pentecost, the birthday of the Church.) Don’t sweep away the celebration! Easter needs to cover the world with the rainbow of colors so that it stays at the front of our minds for as long as possible. Besides, the colors look really pretty to me, especially when the yard and garden are not yet in full bloom.
I usually hide the eggs for the kids, and once they have been hidden, found, re-hidden and found a few times, we break them open by tossing them, dropping, smashing, cracking, poking and crashing. Sometimes we collect the confetti in our buckets, sometimes we break the eggs on each other. However we do it, it is done with great joy and enthusiasm.
We also incorporate them into my son’s birthday party. His friends come each year remembering and expecting the confetti eggs. If there is a symbol for my first-born’s birth it is the cascarones. Just as his birth meant a beginning of a new way of life for me, the cascarones are a reminder to him. And that’s the beauty of these symbols. When they become so intertwined with our celebrations as a family, their meaning is inextricably tied to our faith as well. When he decides he is ready for baptism (as is the practice of our denomination), I will plan a celebration that includes cascarones.
You can make your own cascarones. Here’s a link to more information on their history and instructions for making them at home.
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