Easter Sport From The 19th Century – Cracking An Egg?

Competitive Easter Sports In 1872 – Egg Cracking

Easter sport boys cracking eatsre eggs 1872When I was young I enjoyed dying eggs for Easter. The “sport” that followed was the Easter Egg hunt, looking around the house for those hidden decorated eggs.

So I was intrigued when I came across this illustration by E.A. Abbey from the April 6, 1872 issue of Harper’s Weekly entitled “Easter Sports – Boys Cracking Eggs.”


What exactly does one do in this “sport?” Fortunately an explanation is provided.


Boys all over the country will understand this picture; but for the benefit of those who have grown to be men without ever having been boys (and there are many who have been so unfortunate) we may say that the sport illustrated in the sketch consists in knocking eggs together, end to end, and the egg first cracked is forfeited to the owner of the harder one. The rules of the game vary in different parts of the country. In some places it is necessary that only one end of the egg should be cracked ; in others the experiment must be tried on each. Bad boys sometimes take the eggs of guinea-hens, which have a much harder shell than those of the common domestic hen, removing the speckles with acids, and thus cheat their comrades. But no fair boy will resort to such a dishonest practice.

I’m positive this sport won’t be making a comeback in the twenty-first century. First it doesn’t involve an electronic screen.

Second, How many children today, besides those growing up on farms, have touched a live hen to gather a fresh egg ?

Finally if they were to cheat, would any child possess the knowledge to remove speckles with acid?

No the innocent pastime of Easter egg cracking is a dead sport I’m afraid.

2 thoughts on “Easter Sport From The 19th Century – Cracking An Egg?

  1. N

    You must not have Serbian Orthodox friends! Egg cracking is still our Easter tradition with friends and family after Easter service or before breaking our Lenten fast with Easter lunch.


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