Poem: Breaking Fiesta Eggs

Updated on September 1, 2018

Fiesta Eggs in Santa Barbara

During the first week of August in Santa Barbara, many older Mexican men and women set up their long tables and sell tens of thousands of their handmade confetti-filled Fiesta eggs. In Spanish, they are called cascarones, and many of them resemble cartoon characters. The breaking of these colorful eggs during the Spanish Days celebration takes place in the streets of Santa Barbara, located on the central coast of California. This fantastic party lasts for seven days with events scattered throughout the city.

The first Fiesta was in 1924. Its purpose was to reflect the Rancho Period (1780 to 1880) when Santa Barbara was a remote, rural area under the influence of Spanish, Mexican, and local Native American cultures.

It is uncertain when the first cascaron was broken, but today in Santa Barbara it is a beloved tradition. The breaking of eggs for Fiesta is done in the spirit of fun and goodwill, commemorating the contributions of the Spanish speaking people and the Native Americans to our society.

Poem: Breaking Fiesta Eggs

The first weekend
in August, the bands strike
the Palominos proudly stride
down State Street
in red, green
and white

Señoras on sidewalks
selling hollow eggs
washed and painted
filled with confetti
broken over crowns
christening lives
in cascading waterfalls

Smash! Crackle! Pow!
broken confetti eggs
the yolk of life
sticks to sweaty brows
with colorful dots
of gratitude and joy

Macho men
riding white horses
flamenco dancers
in long ruffled dresses
boys with painted mustaches
in oversized sombreros
mariachi players
with sun-browned skin
making guitar-strings quiver

Bursting eggs
over unsuspecting heads
enliven a dead spirit
lighten a dark sky
setting the fiesta mood
in the sun-splattered glow
of Old Spanish Days

Señoras with mystical faces
holding Chihuahuas in drag
infusing their magic
into the bowels of eggs
four for a dollar
a dozen for three-fifty
cheap at twice the price.

Breaking Fiesta Eggs By Mark Tulin

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    • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Tulin 

      20 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

      Thank you, Tim. It’s a fun street celebration, a little like the Mardi Gras. Chihuahuas just happen to be my favorite dog and I can’t help noticing them wherever I go even though they are so tiny. Like most dogs, they look so funny when they’re dressed up. Peace.

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 

      20 months ago from U.S.A.

      Hi, Mark,

      You put us into the heart of this celebration and it was a wonderful occasion. I could imagine dressing my Chihuahua mix "in drag" and enjoying the event. (My dog, Love, wouldn't like the dress up but she probably would want the fiesta eggs.)

      What a fabulous poem about a tradition which was new to me.

      Thanks again, Mark for a well written, lively, and positive poem.

      Much respect and admiration to a creative, positive, and inspiring poet on the West Coast,

      Tim

    • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Tulin 

      21 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

      Thank you, Peggy. It’s fun to celebrate another’s culture.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      21 months ago from Houston, Texas

      It sounds like a fun event. Thanks for telling us about it. I could envision all the colors and sounds from your poem. I can almost hear that mariachi band playing!

    • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Tulin 

      21 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

      Yes, happy that it occurs once a year. Hard to get all the confetti out of your clothes and they stick to your skin and scalp if you’re bald.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 

      21 months ago from LOS ANGELES

      Thank you for introducing me to something new. It seems to be a fun and, well-loved tradition.

    • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Tulin 

      21 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

      Li-Jen, you are right. It is nice to see the breaking of eggs as a positive thing rather than as a symbol of anger. Your comments are always welcome.

    • Li-Jen Hew profile image

      Li-Jen Hew 

      21 months ago

      Hi Mark. The celebration sounds exciting! It must be fun throwing eggs and making a mess in conjunction with Fiesta rather than throwings eggs to boo someone. Your poem is enough to present the yolk of life. I can already see the colourful event with the fun and happy description in your poem. Thanks for sharing.

    • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Tulin 

      22 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

      Thanks, Rinita. I don’t know for sure. But I don’t think they empty all the yolk at once. I think they collect the egg shells throughout the year and save them for the fiesta.

    • Senoritaa profile image

      Rinita Sen 

      22 months ago

      Wow! Your poem is so vivid I felt I was there on the streets trying to find a head to break an egg shell on .. haha.

      It was nice learning about this tradition. I wonder what they do with the actual eggs, though. These are just the shells, right?

    • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Tulin 

      22 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

      Thank you, John. There’s something special about breaking a confetti egg over someone’s head. :)

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      22 months ago from Queensland Australia

      This is an interesting tradition to read about and the well-written poem captured the fun. Good work, Mark.

    • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Tulin 

      22 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

      some traditions I don’t care for, but this one I like. Peace, brother.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      22 months ago from london

      Colourful tradition. You have brought it to life with your poetry. Well done!

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