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What are the carnival wax eggs that spread confetti and dust all around and how are they made?

There were times when confetti battles where carried out with wax eggs. Today, the confetti are still here. The wax eggs, however, gradually disappeared and they are no longer part of this great, massive, popular festival of Limassol.

The origin of this custom seems to be associated with the carnival of Patras, where in the end of the 19th century there are references of "pranks" with eggs filled with ash thrown to people. The prank became a custom and it gradually passed to Limassol, which has been adopting several customs from the Patras Carnival. Thus, in mid-1920, there are already reports in the Press that indicate that it is an established custom.

For sure the confetti and serpantines and eggs where all around and the general madness of the carnival kept on quite vividly until the night, giving to the city an air of some festive grand city.

(Alitheia, March 6, 1925)

Throwing wax eggs, was a very common practice for Limassolians, before sprays or other means and chemical substances, which actually reproduce the same game - "prank". The symbolism of this egg-war, of course, changes depending on who throws it to whom, from flirting to fun. The egg-war had as a result for the carnival enthusiasts to end up with wax crumbles and confetti all over them, at best, or to get smeared with powder or flour, at worst.

This custom, however, seems to have roots in the Far East. The actual eggs would by emptied in several ways by their content, cut it in half and having a hole opened on one side they were filled with various materials (powder, corn, perfumes, ash, confetti ) and joined back together with wax. It seems that the custom was brought from China by Marco Polo. Indications for the use of such eggs have been found in Spanish, Italian and Mexican culture.

In the 1980s, Thamyros Kathitziotis was making wax eggs with confetti for his children, family and friends. He was one of many amateurs who made eggs, while many were those who sold them to provide additional income during this period. The craft was forgotten in the years, along with the custom, but one candle maker kept the tradition.

The was workshop in Ellados Street in the city center was a well-known paraffin supplier, since both the candle maker, Petros Patsalides, and his father were known for making wax eggs. The technique remains the same since then and it revived in the year 2016, just before the custom was entirely forgotten in Limassol. The wax eggs are made with wood molds, which are immersed several times into the melted paraffin, to form a shell. "It must be so thin as not to cause damage when banging on someone, but thick enough so as not to break easily" Petros Patsalides explains. The Historical Archives of Limassol host today 2 such wooden molds, which were donated by a well-nknown photographer of Limassol, Pambos Charalambous. These days, the eggs are exclusively stuffed with confetti, to avoid the huge mess.

Source: Limassol Historical Archives — Mimis Sophocleous, Director of the Historical Archives

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