Knockin’ Eggs: A Cajun Easter Tradition

Egg Knocking I New Orleans Moms BlogOne of the greatest things about living in Louisiana is that we are a melting pot of cultures and backgrounds, many of which carry some pretty awesome traditions with them. A small sampling of the people that live here come from so many backgrounds: Cajun, Creole, German, French, Spanish, African and Vietnamese are just a few. I think it is part of what makes New Orleans such a wonderful place to live. Everyone is different, yet we all know someone, and we openly share our traditions among a diverse group of cultures that have managed to combine in a way that makes our great city unique.

I am a proud Cajun. Both of my parents are from central Louisiana and came down to New Orleans when they decided to start a family. When I was a kid, they did a great job of blending their Cajun culture with our new “city” life. Not only did they teach us how to speak some Cajun French, but we also learned how to make an awesome Cajun jambalaya, read The Cajun Night Before Christmas with the appropriate dialect, and when it came to Easter, we learned how to “paques” (pock) or “knock” eggs.

What is pocking eggs?

You are probably like, what in the heck does “Paques” mean? In French, the term “Paques” translates to Easter, and it is pronounced like “pock.” While that is the meaning, in the Cajun culture, it also is used to describe an activity that has been around for years. “Knocking” or “pocking” eggs is also the sound that the eggs make when tapped together. I remember the first Easter I celebrated with my husband and his family. We were waiting for lunch to start, and I said “When are we pocking eggs?” and my in laws looked at me like I was a weirdo. They had never heard of such a thing, and it was then that I realized that not everyone does this for Easter!

Of course, now fifteen years later, I have gotten them to join in the fun and today, I’m happy to share with you all my favorite Easter tradition that is straight from my Cajun roots so that you may share it with your family and make memories!Knocking Eggs for Easter I New Orleans Moms Blog

My favorite Easter tradition

On Easter Sunday, our long standing tradition, what we affectionately call “knocking” or “pocking” eggs, is to tap Easter eggs against each other in an attempt to “bust up” your competitors egg. More specifically, you take the pointy ends of the eggs and tap them against each other until one cracks. The person who still has the whole egg collects that broken one and moves on. The last egg standing would be the winner.

In some families, you play for bragging rights, whereas in others, you actually win a prize! It is really up to a family to determine if awards are given. In a town near where my mother is from, Easter Sunday actually boasts a full event dedicated to the activity where there are cash prizes awarded in each category!

Every year, as a child growing up, my cousins and I would get up bright and early with our grandmother and dye several dozen eggs on Good Friday, taking special care to boil them in her very specific way. (I still don’t know the exact recipe, so any of my cousins who may be reading, feel free to tell me!) There was a key to making your egg “stronger” that I still have no idea about.

Then, on Easter Sunday, after we had demolished the candy in our baskets andΒ gone to mass, we would return back to MaMa’s house to “paque” or “knock” eggs – usually an epic battle of some of us trying to bust the yolks out of our Easter Traditions I New Orleans Moms Blogcompetitor’s egg in hopes of getting some extra candy or even some money if we won. After we were all done busting every single egg up, usually my aunts, mom and grandmother would come together to make a big “egg salad” with all of the busted eggs so that we could enjoy them with our meal. These days, it’s not Easter dinner without a serving of that salad alongside our ham and green beans!

While we don’t get to celebrate with our extended family much any longer, we still do this now with my immediate family and my mother always wins. I swear she knows the “secret,” and she just will not share it so that she can maintain her bragging rights. That’s ok, though, because the salad is pretty darn good, and I consider that a win-win in my book!

What is so amazing about this whole experience is that is a tradition that I hold dearly in my heart. Every year, I spend Good Friday boiling a dozen eggs and dyeing them with Andrew. As soon as I smell the pungent vinegar and plop those eggs in teacups filled with brightly colored liquid, those memories of my childhood come flooding back. When it all comes down to it, it’s those types of activities that make childhood so special, and I’m so glad that I can continue it with my own son. For me, it’s passing on these traditions with my own child and sharing the memories with him that is one of my most favorite parts of parenting.

Also, it would be rude if I didn’t share a tasty way to use up all of those busted eggs! Here I’m sharing our family’s recipe for a perfect side for your Easter ham.Β 

Easter Egg Salad

1 dozen hard boiled and dyed eggs, sliced

Dressing:
3/4 cup safflower or canola oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
kosher salt
Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

In a mason jar, combine oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and shake until well blended. Add desired amount to the sliced eggs. Toss well and serve.

Do you have any special Easter traditions? Do you “pock” eggs? Do YOU know the secret to harder eggs?

27 Responses to Knockin’ Eggs: A Cajun Easter Tradition

  1. Mary April 14, 2014 at 4:59 pm #

    Haha, we do it too but got it from my Polish grandparents! It’s so fun!

    • Andie April 15, 2014 at 9:26 am #

      I had read that on Wiki- that is has Polish origins too! How fun! We love it! πŸ™‚

  2. Stephanie B April 14, 2014 at 7:58 pm #

    I’m so excited to see this!! I grew up pocking eggs – my mother’s family is from central LA. It wasn’t until I met my husband’s (boyfriend at the time) family that I realized not all families did this! haha I’m continuing the tradition with my two girls and keep dying a few extra each year in hopes of getting his family in on the fun. πŸ™‚

    • Andie April 15, 2014 at 9:40 am #

      Same here! The first Easter I spent with Scott’s family, I was like, “When are we pocking eggs?” and they looked at me like I was crazy. I had to teach them how it is done! πŸ™‚ I make them join in if they are at my house for the holiday. πŸ™‚

  3. Angelina April 14, 2014 at 8:32 pm #

    I had never heard of this! This is a fun idea!

    • Andie April 15, 2014 at 9:40 am #

      try it with Jude! I am sure he will love it! πŸ™‚

  4. Tiffany April 14, 2014 at 9:34 pm #

    Pocking eggs is the only reason to dye eggs, right? It’s not Easter without a multi colored potato salad!

    • Andie April 15, 2014 at 9:54 am #

      exactly! LOL

  5. Sheryl March 1, 2015 at 11:37 pm #

    Andie, I’ve never heard of this! Our family is mostly Cajun, but from the Thibodaux/ Raceland area. Very interesting to learn that even the Cajuns from Louisiana have different holiday traditions!

  6. Tonia March 2, 2015 at 7:08 am #

    Andi, only 1 dozen eggs?? I am from Central La., Avoyelles Parish to be exact, and My family is so much into this tradition, for the total of about 15 that get together on Easter Sunday, we have about a dozen per person ! Of course, though, the best part is the multi-colored deviled eggs and egg salad.

    • Ashlee April 5, 2015 at 7:27 pm #

      Hello everyone! I am a college student at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, LA. I’m taking a Louisiana Folklore class & we’re doing a fieldwork project & I chose to do mine on egg pocking. I was born here, but I grew up in the Washington D.C. area & had never heard of this until I moved down here and heard about it from friends. I have to conduct interviews & gather research & would like to ask if anyone would be interested in emailing back & forth with me about this tradition to answer questions. I would like to interview as many different people/families as possible & I would like to recognize each person/family I interview unless they would like to remain anonymous. This is a great article that I can use as a base & will be citing it in my references. Also, a friend of mine would like to use the finished essay for the Louisiana tourism website to celebrate Louisiana traditions. If anyone is interested in helping me out, please contact me at [email protected]
      Thanks everyone!

  7. LINDA LANDRY March 2, 2015 at 11:00 am #

    Grew up #pocking then Deviled Eggs

  8. Bonniebell March 3, 2015 at 6:49 am #

    We called it Pocking eggs. The concept of tapping the eggs……pocking not knocking
    From a true cajun girl.

  9. Adrienne March 3, 2015 at 11:49 pm #

    I am 100% Cajun, born and raised from Maurice/Lafayette area. I grew up doing this also. Always loved it!! But it wasn’t until in my 20’s and living in the Ville Platte area that I learned a little more of the tradition. The “secret” is not just the way the eggs are boiled but also what the chickens are fed the week leading up to Easter. For the week before Easter, they feed the chickens a whole lot more calcium!! It makes the shells harder. At least that’s what I was told. Iive to think its true…just makes the tradition a little bit more fun!!

  10. Ellen March 4, 2015 at 9:19 am #

    My family is from Marksville, LA in Avoyelles parish. Every Easter people bring their eggs to the area in front of the Courthouse for the egg pocking competition. It is a big deal and eggs are checked so no one tries to sneak in a Ginny egg which is harder than a chicken egg. Families gather and winners get prizes. The tradition has stayed with me hope it will be passed on for generations!

  11. lucy March 4, 2015 at 3:45 pm #

    Wow.. from marksville La also..going to the court house to “knock” eggs was fun..This was a long time ago!!!

  12. Becky March 17, 2015 at 4:36 pm #

    I grew up pocking eggs. My Grandparents lived in Ville Platte for years. We were told as children that to pock was to break open. This was a sign that we as Christians believe that Jesus rose from the dead and came out of the tomb. I do know from experience, buy the small eggs they seem to be harder than the bigger ones. One year I cleaned up with one very lucky hard egg.

  13. Anita April 2, 2015 at 9:04 pm #

    If you put a dish rag in the water add viiniger. And stand the eggs up small end down. The rag around them keeps them turned down . This fills the small end of the eggs and makes it solid. My paw paw taught me this. He had the best eggs.

  14. Rochelle April 3, 2015 at 11:11 am #

    So – do you use the same egg over and over until it cracks or a fresh egg everytime?

  15. Tami April 3, 2015 at 12:42 pm #

    I remember doing this at my grandparents house which is also in Avoyelles parish, Simmesport to be exact. Sure brings back some very fond memories.

  16. Monica April 3, 2015 at 8:37 pm #

    From the Acadiana area.St. Landry and Acadia parishes..Eunice to be exact..we enjoyed this tradition of pacqueing or Pocking also..with the traditional colorful Easter potatoe salad..and for any late .comers to the gathering we would pock and. pickle the eggs ..yum and we’d enjoy these in pickling jars on the cabinet for a special treat! We used to use the leftover eggs for hiding for the hunt in the afternoon with the cousins!.whew! We’d find smelly eggs for days later…lol !

  17. Connie Plewniak April 4, 2015 at 8:15 pm #

    Would love to have your recipe for cajun jambalaya

    • Debbie Mitchell March 29, 2016 at 4:12 pm #

      if you look for a recipe online, look for Frank Davis’ recipe collection online.
      But I take the easiest route – a box of Zatarain’s original jambalaya mix. Just add a combo of shrimp & sausage (my fave) and BINGO. great, spicy jambalaya.

  18. Sally Hand April 15, 2015 at 3:14 pm #

    Am from the big city of Elton, grew up pocking eggs at Easter. I got special “banty eggs”, since I was the little girl in the family. I made nest with the new grass that came up this time of year, in hopes that the Easter bunny would leave me lots of eggs. The bunny found most of the nest. Wow that was a special time in my life. We pocked eggs, and the ones that were not chewed up or mashed too bad were used in egg salads, or potato salad, or deviled eggs. In those years not much food was wasted (it was the WW11 era.

  19. Debbie Mitchell March 29, 2016 at 4:11 pm #

    I know what banty eggs are! Yes, we pocked eggs. Once my sister had a real winner, it broke everyone in the town’s egg. She put it in the freezer ’cause she figured it’d keep till the next Easter.

  20. Bette April 13, 2017 at 10:19 am #

    I I am from the suburbs of Los Angeles, CA . My parents and grandparents are from Colorado. Our heritage is Irish, Swedish and Scottish. My mother taught us pocking, but we always referred to it as egg fights. The only time we did this was on Easter morning.

  21. Denese April 16, 2017 at 8:17 am #

    I grew up with this tradition too and still practice it in my own home at Easter time. It brings back so many memories of the joys of family life and Easter celebration!
    I was raised in Alexandria Louisiana.

Leave a Reply

five × four =