If Your Eggs Are Cracked, Please Step Down: Easter Egg Knocking in Marksville, Louisiana
Before Punkin Darlin and I met and married I was a widow. I had been married to a french speaking Cajun ( a barber by trade) from Marksville, LA and soon after meeting him was introduced to a custom originating in the early 50's called Pocking Eggs which everyone in Avoyelles Parish does at Easter time. Most people hide and hunt eggs, but the cajuns Pock or in our language "Knock" them. The kids and adults alike take a couple of hardboiled eggs even to mass on Easter and after mass have great fun by pocking them with their pew neighbors. A strange but charming custom!
On Easter Sunday morning in Marksville, Louisiana, most of the townspeople will attend mass at the various local churches. In order to "knock eggs" two people will agree to knock, then one will hold a boiled egg with the small end up while the other taps on it with the small en d of his egg. One egg will crack. The person whose egg has cracked will then have to forfeit his egg to the winner. This custom is carried out in several Cajun communities throughout South Louisiana. In some areas the practice is referred to as "Pacques Pacques", which simply means "Easter Easter" in French, but is also a play on words because the sound of an egg tapping on another egg makes a sound like "poc poc".
When all the eggs are cracked on their small end, the children usually continue with the game by knocking the "butts" or the large ends. Then they knock the sides. If they have an Easter egg hunt at home later, all the eggs will already be cracked all over! Hiding eggs for the children to find is a relatively new custom in Marksville, compared with knocking, and it is definitely not the major event.
After the eggs are boiled, they are dyed and decorated. Today, most families use commercial egg dyes or bottled food coloring. However, the citizens of Marksville and Cottonport recall the stories their parents and grandparents have told of the days when eggs were colored with juice from wildflowers, roots, berries, chimney soot, and coffee grounds. The old-timers believed that boiling the eggs in coffee grounds made them stronger. Some people still do it.
The entire tradition of egg knocking is something passed on by the old-timers.
Groups of family and friends are talking, laughing, catching up on the latest news, and knocking eggs.