Each year, on Easter Sunday, the Heart of Oaks pub in the small English town of Peterlee is home to the World Jarping Championship. Players arrive and choose from among a number of eggs that have been carefully selected, placed together in a pot, and hard-boiled for exactly 10 minutes. To begin the competition, a player takes an egg in hand, pointy-side up, while their opponent holds another egg, pointy-side down. Then, in a moment of eggscruciating drama, the two eggs are knocked together – an act known as “dunshing” or “jarping” – until one of the eggs cracks. Oh, the eggony of defeat! The humiliated loser must shell the cracked egg and eat it, while the winner moves on to the next round. This continues round-by-round until at last only one perfect, pristine egg remains, and a champion is declared.
Here in the U.S., we takes things a little further. Down in Cajun country, egg-knocking is known as “Pocking,” which is a play on words for the sound the eggs make, and for the French word for Easter, which is “Pacques.” They’ve been holding competitive Pocking tournaments in Louisiana since at least 1956. But unlike in Jarping, in competitive Pocking YOU BRING YOUR OWN EGG! So – as you might expect – folks get a little eggstravagant in their search for the perfect egg. They drive around testing eggs from different flocks (home-raised birds lay much tougher eggs than commercial chickens).
Folks raise their own Pocking flocks, feed their birds calcium supplements, and do eggstensive research on egg-laying times and conditions. Not long ago, someone figured out that Guinea hen eggs are smaller and harder than chicken eggs, and they pocked so well that separate competitions had to be set up for Guineas and for Chickens. Seriously. This Easter Sunday afternoon, the great Pocking towns of Marksville and Cottonport will each send their Guinea and Chicken champions to the local radio station for the “The Big Pock-Off.” It’s an Easter eggstravaganza.
You don’t have to go to such eggstremes. Instead of jarping and pocking, you can still just decorate your eggs, dye them, hide them and roll them around the yard.
Or make things truly simple and just eat them. (You will still have to decide between scrambled, over-easy or sunny side up.)
Whatever you choose, have an eggcellent holiday weekend.