Easter egg game (Maseehh kom) – Arabic Folk Game

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Palestinian
Age: 75
Occupation: Retired
Residence: Long Beach
Date of Performance/Collection: 5/2/2021
Primary Language: Arabic
Other Language(s): English, French

Context:

She learned this game from her family when she was around two years old, in Egypt. She said that the reason they commemorate Jesus’s resurrection with cracking eggs is because Jesus emerged from the tomb like a chick emerging from an egg.

Game:

This game requires two people (P1 and P2), each with a hard-boiled Easter egg.

P1 holds their egg above P2’s egg, and both of the tops are exposed and facing each other. P1 says “Maseehh kom” (“Messiah has risen”), and P2 says “Hakan kom” (“Indeed risen”). P1 then slams their egg’s top into P2’s egg’s top. Whoever’s egg is not broken is the winner of that round.

P2 then holds their egg above P1’s egg, and both of the bottoms are exposed and facing each other. P2 says “Maseehh kom,” and P1 says “Hakan kom.” P2 then slams their egg’s bottom into P1’s egg’s bottom. Whoever’s egg is not broken is the winner of that round.

If there is a tie at the end, they repeat the game with new eggs.

(I added the P1 and P2 distinctions, as well as the translations, to the original explanation for the sake of clarity)

Thoughts:

I remember learning this game from my parents when I was a kid, and I think that it is a clever way to celebrate the Resurrection with the prominent tradition of Easter eggs. We would first play it in the household, then again when we would meet with the whole family later that Sunday (pre-COVID). Each time we played it, it was in a tournament style: each person would choose a colored egg from a container full of them, and would face off in brackets. Not only was it a way to remember that “Maseehh kom,” but it was a way to bring the family closer together (very important to Arabs).

For other games associated with Easter eggs, see the following excerpt: Newall, Venetia. “Easter Eggs.” The Journal of American Folklore, vol. 80, no. 315, 1967, pp.27-28. https://doi.org/10.2307/538415.