I will never forget my first Texas Easter. I think I'd been in Laredo for about eight months at that point - a Hoosier transplanted in South Texas. The culture shock was huge and I'm not even going to tug at that thread right now.
But by that point I thought I'd learned a lot of what there was to know about Laredo life: it's OK to eat tacos for breakfast if you call them "mariachis," you greet friends, family and even strangers with a kiss on the cheek and switching from English to Spanish mid-sentence is completely fine.
The one thing that took me by surprise on this particular Sunday morning in 1999, though? The cascaron.
Cascarones are a Mexican tradition - eggs filled with confetti and broken over people's heads on Easter Sunday. I just remember standing there with my family and suddenly finding myself covered in colorful pieces of paper.
Now, for you natural-born South Texans out there, this is probably nothing new. But we never had that in Indiana.
I soon learned that there were unwritten rules regarding cascarones.
The shiny silver and gold ones, for instance, were homemade versions brought in by some of my friends and the spray-painted exterior hurt more than the other types.
When a child toddles over to you with a cascaron in-hand, you drop down and take it on the head like a good sport. You are allowed, however, to run away from older friends and family attempting to do the same thing.
And don't pelt the women who took time getting their Easter ensembles together - i.e. your mother - without prior permission.
I'd also look out for eggs filled with water or other liquids - while I've never run across them, you hear horror stories about them every year.
I will say, though, that it's a lot of fun. My family has never made our own cascarones since there are always plenty to go around, but we always say we will. Maybe next year...
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