Tuesday, March 26, 2013

It's all about the POCKING

So I'm officially on spring break now {woohoo!!}  but I 've been wanting to sit down and write about what went on in my "speech room" before we left on our long awaited break.....

Dozens and dozens of hard boiled eggs met their fate all in the name of a little Easter fun and the spreading of a tradition {that totally smelled up my room and nearly the whole school in the process}.  


My partners in crime (i.e. the 2 speech pathologists I work with and our graduate student from LSU) and I hauled every one of our students through my room the week before our break to engage in some serious egg dying, some Easter word games and the pièce de résistance- POCKING EGGS.  
(more on that in a minute:)        

 I mean, were we brave, or what?!! 

Now I know what you're wondering and the answer is YES, there were several eggs that cracked approximately 3 seconds after being told. "Now you only get one egg so be very, very careful with it, ok?"      

That's ok.  The cracked ones got dyed, too.  



Despite the fact that there was some bickering over the coveted pink and blue dye cups, all of the eggs eventually got dyed to everyone's liking.  We were surprised to find that many of the children had never dyed eggs before.  We also didn't anticipate the number of children who wanted to keep their egg to smuggle home in their backpack.  {insert images of parents discovering rotten eggs in backpacks all around this suburb of Baton Rouge over spring break}  Ohhhh no...no sneaking or smuggling of the egg was allowed.   If you didn't eat the egg  it went straight in the garbage.   Unfortunately, 99% of the kiddos elected to eat the egg - or peel the egg and then for some inexplicable reason, crumble it to bits- resulting in thousands of pieces of egg shell shrewn around the room......but I digress...

             
Now that the eggs were dyed,  it was time to POCK!    
                            
I'm going to refer to it as "pocking" even though "pock" should actually be "pâcques"
(the French word for Easter).  I've recently learned that pocking eggs is a tradition done in parts of the Europe and the Middle East, but to me, I've always just known it as something we do down in Cajun country. My students and I had been reading about and learning about  about Easter Traditions Around the World for over a week and I wanted to share this tradition with them. 

Growing up in Mamou, LA, this was something we did every Easter as far back as I can remember.  If you were old enough to hold an Easter egg, you pocked. After Easter Sunday mass, Cajun families gather in large bunches at the home of whomever volunteered to cook that year. Cajun accents chat over feasts of slow cooked meats, barbeque, ham, turkey, rice dressing, potato salad, or if you were very lucky, cardboard platters of steaming boiled crawfish.  Everyone brings a basket of Easter eggs. Aunts, uncles, Maw Maws, Paw Paws, cousins, nieces and nephews, "Parrains" and Godmothers gather around the kitchen or the porch with their baskets to pock eggs. 


{Here is my great niece, Abigail, pocking eggs with her mom last Easter in my brother's backyard.}


It's a simple little game.  With eggs in hand, two people have an egg battle. One person holds their egg firmly in their fist with the small tip up while the other person holds their egg with its small tip down.  The person doing the pocking gently tap, tap, taps on the bottom egg until one egg finally succombs and cracks. Whoever has the egg that remains intact is the winner and gets to take the loser's egg.  And so I told this story to my students in my speech room -105 miles from my hometown of Mamou- and we tried it, pair by pair.  Pock. Pock. Pock.                       

Even though I live and work in South Louisiana, the traditions of Cajun country are a world apart and often unknown to those in other parts of Louisiana.  This seems to be the case with pocking eggs! Growing up, I thought that everyone pocked eggs. I didn't find out differently until the first Easter I spent away at college- just 180 miles north of my hometown. When I mentioned pocking eggs I got some very baffled looks. {yikes!}   



At school, the sound of laughter & commotion (and possibly the smell of eggs) coming from my speech room brought quite a few spectators. Even our assistant principal, originally from New Orleans, came to watch the egg pocking and commented that she'd never seen or heard of such a thing!
                                                                                                                                                                                       
The kids had loads of fun with the pocking, and a grand champion egg was named for each group. The winner won a prize that every child craves- candy!

Only a handful of precious little first graders melted into tears when their egg was cracked. 
(oops, another thing I didn't anticipate)

Now we kept it nice and friendly in my speech room but back in Mamou it is hardcore competitive.  I imagine the tradition stemmed from the old days when Cajuns were largely poor and really wanted to win their competitors' eggs in order to provide a few days worth of meals for their family.     


At our house, if one egg starts to win too often the accusations start flying about it being a guinea, quail or duck egg (or even a wooden egg) instead of a plain ole chicken egg .
{I wouldn't know where to get any of those strange varieties!} 
There are even strategies that people swear by to make their eggs stronger: buying certain types or sizes of eggs, boiling them pointing up, etc. etc.  In the end, it's all about  fun and tradition. 



I hope this Easter activity will be one my students remember.  Maybe some of my students will tell their families about pocking eggs.   Maybe they'll even try it at home.  

I left work that day exhausted... but with a happy heart...
like I had a small part in keeping this little Cajun tradition alive.  

Do you have a unique Easter tradition? I'd love to hear about it.  
I might even add it to my bestselling Easter Around the World activity on TPT
(you can check it out here:)

Happy Easter, y'all
-Mia

Intrigued?  




10 comments:

  1. Wow - pocking sounds so interesting...and festive! I'll need to try that out this year :)

    ~Jessica
    Joy in the Journey

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    1. I hope you do:) Glad you found it interesting and s0 glad you stopped by and left a comment- because now I've discovered YOUR blog- I can see you are all about making learning fun and exciting- I LOVE THAT!

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  2. That sounds pretty cool! Being from Massachusetts, you can probably guess that I've never heard of pocking. We're dying eggs soon, we'll have to try it. Thanks for sharing!

    Carrie
    Carrie's Speech Corner

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    1. That would totally make my day to know y'all were pocking eggs up north in MA! Hope you have a Happy Easter!
      Mia

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  3. Mia, I was born and raised in St. James Parish and have never heard of pocking eggs. I loved this...thanks for sharing! Our family will be pocking eggs this year! Gidget

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    1. Gidget, that is CRAZY how traditions can be so different just 100 miles east on I-10! Hope ya'll have fun with it :)

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  4. I grew up in Minnesota and have never heard of pocking eggs. We always dyed eggs had egg hunts. When I lived in South Texas for a couple years I was introduced to cascarones at Easter time, which was great fun. Always interesting to hear about the traditions of different regions!

    Abby
    Schoolhouse Talk!

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    1. Abby,
      So glad you found it interesting- it's funny you mention cascarones- my students who moved to my area from Mexico taught me all about cascarones this year since we had been taking about Easter traditions. It sounds like a lot of fun- next year I might see if some of their moms would volunteer to help me make some at school (I don't think I can handle another year of dying and pocking- it was pretty chaotic!)
      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Because you did, I visited your blog, and I'm loving it- I'm a new follower:)
      -Mia

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  6. Well I've learned something new today...Pocking eggs! Never heard of it and still wondering what you do with all these cracked eggs? Lot's of deviled eggs I presume? Hahahaha sounds like a ton of fun though! Thanks for sharing, Mia!

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