17.3.08

pocking eggs or la toquette

Pocking eggs was one of the subjects talked about on the March 14, 2008 La Tasse de Cafe. Mr. Aucoin called in and said that the folk game was practiced only in Evangeline and Avoyelles parishes. This generated a lot of calls from people saying the custom was practiced in other areas. A woman called and said some areas of Pennsylvania broke eggs and they called the game upper or uppering. I called in to say that Greece and Serbia pock eggs.

Mr. Aucoin was surprised to hear this information but he's not the only one. Ok, what is pocking eggs? Pocking eggs is a game played at Easter where family and friends take turns tapping two eggs together. One person holds an egg with the small end facing up and the other person taps the tip with his/her egg. The same ends are used, until kids go crazy and begin hitting all sides of the eggs. The winner is the one whose egg didn't break in the battle.



I grew up thinking this was a local custom. My parents are from L'Anse Grise but I grew up in Pine Prairie. I don't know about now but when I was kid it was only some of us who pocked. And it was usually kids whose parents came from L'Anse Grise, Mamou or Vidrine that pocked eggs.

I thought it was a French or Cajun custom we were doing. I had to write a 10 page essay on a folk custom when I was in school at NSU in Natchitoches. I thought about several things and pocking eggs came to mind because the essay was due close to Easter. I asked several people and they were not familiar with pocking. I thought I had a good thing and was going to write about something unique. I started to wonder though after I questioned some international students. One of my best friends, from Karelia, Russia, knew about it and so did students from Germany, France and Wales. It became really interesting after I did some research in the library and read the custom was practiced in several countries, including Iraq. I then went home, asked my family and friends a bunch of questions, and then wrote my essay which included information from the reference books.

It was fun but the Internet wasn't available. It was there but only a few people used it. And it was slow, very slow. It wasn't useful to me back then. Things have changed and I use the Internet every day now. Gathering information is incredible. This goes back to the pocking discussion on the La Tasse de Cafe. I posted a question on the L'Anse Grise forum
 after hearing the program and started googling. People wrote back on the forum and the interaction led to more information. I read blogs, forums, sites and newspaper articles about pocking. I've done this twice before and even posted about it but I never read about pocking in France. I found a book on Google books, An Egg at Easter: A Folklore Study by Venetia Newall, and posted the information on the L'Anse Grise forum. Christian, from France, saw something that I had missed in the site. Pocking in France was called la toquette.

That's probably why we pock eggs now where I'm from. It was a custom brought over by the French. Other people came to the region but people mainly pock in the French areas. And pock is actually pâques, the French word for Easter.