I was sure that I had posted on this subject before, but could find no reference to it. Perhaps it was one of the many posts that got half-written over the last couple of years and never made it to the light of blogging. Whatever the reason… I wanted to write a bit about one of our Easter traditions that stems from the north of England. So I repeated my research and found a few other notations this year.
One of my family’s traditions on Easter is to “jarp” eggs. (Wiktionary, retrieved 2014; The Free Dictionary, retrieved 2014) (I’ve seen a couple of different spellings; with our Canadian accent, we always assumed it was “japping” eggs, while I’ve also seen it spelled “jauping” eggs.) It’s a simple process, in which one takes a hard-boiled (usually brightly coloured) Easter egg and holds it end toward another combatant… who smashes his/her egg similarly into yours. One of the eggs will usually give way, and the one that is unspoiled is the winner. The process continues around the family table until everyone has shattered their eggshell… and there is one victorious winner. That was usually me dad.
The tradition apparently started in the Northeast of England (The Guardian, 2012), and there is even a World Egg Jarping Association (WEJA) (The Northern Echo, 2014). This year I even figure out what my parents were talking about when they called our hard-boiled eggs “paste eggs” when I was a kid. For decades I always assumed it was some kind of confusion with some kind of paper maché or decorative egg: but today I found that it actually means “Easter eggs”, from the original adjective “Pascal” (French. Pasques or Latin, Pasca) (North-East Dictionary, retrieved 2014).
We’ve continued the tradition long after we grew up, well into adulthood. It’s one of those things we do at Easter; I’ve similarly introduced it to my husband from the South (he won this year). The pictures at right are of my mom, who participated this year. More pictures are on my Flickr site.