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The egg tapping game or egg fight is a traditional Easter game. The rule is very simple: to hold a hard-boiled egg and tap eggs of other participants to break them but to keep your own undamaged. The egg was a symbol of the rebirth of the earth in Pagan celebrations of spring and was adopted by early Christians as a symbol of the rebirth of man at Easter.[1]

Venetia Newall in her book An Egg at Easter: A Folklore Study quotes an early reference from 15th-century Poland.[2]

In English folk traditions, the game has variously been known as "shackling", "jarping" or "dumping" [2]. As with any other game it has been a subject of cheating: eggs with cement core, alabaster, and even marble eggs have been reported. [2]

In Assam the game is called Koni-juj (Koni = Egg; Juj = Fight). It is held every year during Bhogali Bihu in Assam.

In Holland the game is called eiertikken. The children line up with baskets of coloured eggs and try to break those in another person’s basket. But players must only break ones of the same colour as their own.[3]

In Romania visitors strike red eggs against one held by the head of the household and exchange the greetings “Christ is risen!” and “He is risen indeed!” The person who keeps an unbroken egg is said to enjoy the longest life.[3]

Christians in Bulgaria have a similar custom and may believe that the winner of the egg tapping contest will have the most health until the next Easter. The winning egg may be preserved until the next year as a token of luck and good health.

In many places in Louisiana egg-tapping (called egg-knocking or egg pacqueing) is a serious competition event. Marksville claims to be the first to make it into an official event in 1956. In the past some cheaters used guinea hen eggs, which are smaller and have harder shells. Nowadays guinea egg knocking is a separate contest category. Preparation for this contest has turned into a serious science. People now know which breeds of chicken lay harder eggs and at what time. The chickens must be fed with calcium-rich food and have plenty of exercise. Proper boiling of the contest eggs is also a serious issue. Some rules are well-known, such eggs must be boiled tip down, so that the air pocket is on the butt end. There is also the rule that the champion must break and eat their eggs to prove they are not a fake. [4][5]

See also

References

  1. ^ Warwickshire County Council: The history of the Easter egg Retrieved on 2008-03-17
  2. ^ a b c Venetia Newall (1971) An Egg at Easter: A Folklore Study, p. 344
  3. ^ a b see Polan, Linda; Aileen Cantwell (1983). Google Books The Whole Earth Holiday Book. Good Year Books. ISBN 978-0673165855. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=v5ibx_jlI5QC&pg=PA151&lpg=PA151&dq=egg+rolling+Holland&source=web&ots=HSZ3Ipbsnp&sig=ulHSE3_wYq7aSoADvO-9Vl02gAY&hl=en#PPA151,M1 Google Books.  
  4. ^ "Egg tapping elevated to a high art in Acadiana" by Judy Stanford, Daily Advertiser, Lafayette, Louisiana, April 4, 1999 ([1])
  5. ^ "If Your Eggs Are Cracked, Please Step Down: Easter Egg Knocking in Marksville", by Sheri Lane Dunbar, Ph.D. (anthropology), first published in the 1989 Louisiana Folklife Festival booklet
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