Spring gives us so many reasons to rejoice: longer, brighter days, the end of cold weather, and a thaw that brings life in the form of baby animals and new growth. As we wave goodbye to winter, many of us welcome spring with cultural and religious celebrations by gathering in community with friends and family.
In my large, extended family, spring always meant gathering for an Easter meal and egg hunt. Certainly many families share this experience, but within our Mexican tradition, my Grandma Sanchez did something special: she spent the darkest parts of the winter months preparing cascarónes for the big celebration that was to come in the spring.
“Cascarón” means shell, and cascarónes are brightly decorated confetti-filled eggshells. They are used to ring in the spring by cracking them on one another’s heads and are said to bring good luck. In our family, for months leading up to Easter, my grandma would gently remove the tops of her eggs, rinse, and save the shells. When we’d visit her around the holidays, my cousins and I would be put to the creative work of decorating the eggs with crayons and dye, filling them with confetti, and sealing them with tissue paper. The process was an act of cooperation that benefitted all of us with springtime fun, and it no doubt kept a bunch of mischievous little kids busy while the adults wrapped presents in a nearby room.
Come Easter Sunday, the adults would hide the eggs while each child squirmed in anticipation, waiting to fill a basket with the cascarónes hidden around my grandparents’ yard. Once all of the eggs were found, the best part – the smashing – began. When adults and kids alike had worn themselves out chasing one another around, we would breathlessly gather around the table to enjoy a meal that always included red rice and grilled meats. No matter how you celebrate spring this year, we at Seward Co-op hope you’re spending it with those you love, enjoying old traditions, and maybe sharing some new ones, too.