Friday, January 13, 2012

Lucky Dragon Eggs

 If you read this post, you know that my family is anxiously awaiting the arrival of the new lunar year.  Chinese New Year is the most important traditional Chinese holiday.  It is also known as the Spring Festival.  The festival will begin on the 23rd of January this year and last for fifteen days, ending with the Lantern Festival.  "Twenty Twelve" is the year of the dragon.  

In honor of the dragon, we decided to make these lucky dragon eggs to open as we celebrate the new year.  The Chinese associate eggs with long life and happiness.  They consider eggs to be very lucky.  It is often incorporated into their various celebrations.  Although, probably not quite like this.  

First you need to buy some eggs.  We decided to make six dragon eggs of luck.  Wash and dry them well.  Now you want to punch a small hole on each end of the egg.  I found that a thumbtack and a small hammer or mallet works well for this.  Keep a light hand or things could go terribly wrong.  Once you have a small hole you can enlarge it a bit with a toothpick.  

I found it helpful at this point to stab a toothpick through the hole into the heart of the egg.  (That sounds a bit harsh, doesn't it?)   This will puncture the yolk and make it much easier to get the contents of the egg---shall we say, out?  

Now for the fun part.  You will need a small bowl.  Wipe the outside of the egg--you want it to be clean.  Put the egg to your mouth and blow blow blow!  (Just a little word of advice.  Do not under any circumstances suck in!)  My daughter loved this part--you just can't help but giggle.  The eggy part of the egg should now be in the bowl and you should be left with just the shell.

Rinse the egg under running water.  You want some water to get inside the egg.  Shake it up to clean out your shell.  Then you may need to blow again to get the water all out.  

Repeat with the remaining eggs. Now you need to let your eggs sit and dry overnight.  
Phase One Complete.

Once you are sure your eggs are dry, you are ready for Phase Two.  

How exactly do you tell a dragon egg from a normal old chicken egg?  Well, all dragon eggs have a small dragon symbol on the outside!  (I totally just made that up.  But it sounds right to me.)  You will want to print this little dragon symbol out to make sure your eggs are properly identified.

All you need to do now is modpodge your dragon symbol onto your egg.  I was out of Mod Podge, so I just diluted some Elmer's glue with a little bit of water.  Put some glue on your egg and put your dragon symbol over the top.  Then I brushed some more glue over the top of the symbol.  You will probably need to use your finger to smooth it all out.  

While your glue is drying,  you need to decide what you want to put into your dragon eggs.  There are many options.  You could fill them with confetti.  If you choose to go this route, you may want to enlarge one of the holes to make it easier to get your confetti in.  You could write a fortune on a strip of paper, roll it up and stick it into the hole.  Or you could put a dollar bill inside.  Of course, you could also do any combination of the three.  We chose to do fortunes and make one of the eggs extra lucky by putting some money into it.  

Now you want to seal up your hole and decorate your egg.  You will need some red tissue paper for this part.  (red paper napkins would also work)  Red is definitely the color of choice for Chinese New Year.  The Chinese believe that red scares away evil spirits and bad fortune.  Cut your paper into small squares.  ModPodge or glue red squares of paper over the holes in your egg.

We are almost done, let's get this whole egg thing wrapped up, shall we?    Modpodge layers of the red paper squares over the egg until the shell is completely covered. 

 The dragon symbol should show through the tissue paper.  Let your eggs dry completely.  Set them aside until New Year's Eve. 
Phase Two Complete.

At the appropriate time  crack open your lucky dragon eggs and see what the new year holds in store!  These little guys are pretty solid.  Hopefully we will be able to get them to crack.  We may have to use that little hammer!
Just to be clear, this is not a traditional way of celebrating Chinese New Year.  
This is just us having some fun!

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