250 years ago today, the emperor opened the imperial hunting grounds to the “common man” and “common woman.” Every Austrian child pays a visit to the amusement park after confirmation and at least twice in a lifetime (once as a child and once with their own children) every Austrian enjoys unparalleled views of Vienna from Prater’s “Riesenrad.” Personally, I love Vienna’s “green lungs” where the Fiakers go to sleep at night, the beavers build their homes and the attire of the chestnut trees reveal the season. Some of my favorite Prater pastimes include running, renting 4 person bikes and racing friends, consuming a greasy hunk of pork leg with freshly grated horseradish and frothing Budweis, and soaking in the beautiful Viennese sunsets from the Riesenrad. Prater is a required stop for all Vienna visits – no matter how old or young the visitors.
To re-iterate yesterday’s post: America needs to adopt the Austrian Easter tradition of “Eierpecken” – which, as Americans, we will translate in a testosterone-laced manner as “Egg Boxing.” Because what’s a good family get-together without a little raw competition with the least favorite cousins?
Objective: smash or even just crack your opponent’s Easter egg with yours while leaving your egg smooth, crack-free and unscathed.
Needed: two hard-boiled, dyed, Easter eggs, two willing contenders, distinction of the “head” (Kopf) vs. the “butt” (Popsch) of the egg (see photo on right). That’s it. Of course spectators to gush over your victory and Chuck’s defeat never hurt – especially if they are poised and ready to capture the moment for digital eternity.
The egg head is the “Kopf” and the most narrow part of the ovid. Egg butt is the “Popsch” or “Po” and is the “bottom” part of the egg.
Step 1:Preparation. As every expert egg boxer can tell you, successful egg boxing begins with the selection of the perfect hen. Yes, in this case, the chicken comes before the egg because young hens produce the most durable eggs. The shells of young hens contain more protein which makes the egg shells harder, thicker, and more durable. So having a young chick in your corner is the first step to victory. (And please don’t use that quote out of context).
Step 2:Boxing stance and footwork. Truth is, there is no proper boxing stance and footwork but it sounds good and can intimidate your opponent so pretend there is: lean your body forward about 5 degrees, tuck your elbows to your hips, keep your chin down (to deflect the impact of the opponent egg) and – very important – don’t ever cross your feet! (to ensure maintained balance). Relax and breathe!
Battling head-to-head (Kopf auf Kopf)
Step 3:Head or Butt? Before the competition can begin, opponents must reach a decision if they will attack each other with the head (Kopf auf Kopf) or the Butt (Popsch auf Popsch) of the egg. If no decision can be amicably reached, this can be determined by the trusty old coin toss.
Step 4: Technique. Now we get into math and physics. If you are going head-to-head then you want to attack with the most durable part of your egg – which is the very tip. Eggs are ovid-shaped (and you always thought they were egg-shaped!) and the strongest part of an ovid is its narrow tip so that’s your lethal weapon.
Step 5: Focus and Aim. So if the hardest part of the ovid is the tip, you are going to target your right straight jab to strike your opponent’s egg a bit to the side rather than directly at the tip.
Step 6: Defensive Technique. Don’t leave yourself open. If he or she comes at you directly head-to-head then defend your egg with your thumb and pointer finger. Leave only the very tip of your egg free for attack.
Step 7: Go for the Gold! Throw your jab with a forward step. Great egg boxers have great jabs. The less effort the faster and more powerful you will be.
Battling butt-to-butt (Popsch auf Popsch)
Step 8: Butt to Butt! No one ever accused you of being a bad sport. Once you’ve smeared Charlie head-to-head be an upstanding guy. Offer him a re-match: Butt to butt! And then win that one too.
Step 9:Revel in victory, you champion you. Shake hands, offer your opponent the salt shaker, shine your unbroken egg and tell Charlie it’s not about winning or losing, but how he played the game. Then upload your egg-boxing photos and texts your fans the winning news. Under no circumstances should you accept any egg boxing challenges from Nana. She might act like a sweet old lady and rookie as she sets aside her needle work and innocently lifts her pink-swirled Easter egg but don’t let her fool you. Ladies over 70 are well-known to be ruthless egg boxers with decades of golden egg trophies tucked away in their yarn baskets.
Egg Boxing Over-achievers, Science Geeks and Engineers: There are more methods that can be applied to winning egg boxing but these sadly exceed my understanding. Spannungstrajektorien, for example, which is apparently stress – strain trajectory can be useful but if you can understand the supposed English explaining it, then you shouldn’t be wasting your time egg boxing but maybe inventing the next alternative to fossil-fuel reliant modes of transportation. I suspect it’s a lot of complicated words that simply re-iterate that with the appropriate velocity and angle of your blow aimed at the most vulnerable part of the opponent’s egg, you will be a winner every time. As long as your opponent hasn’t played dirty and armed himself (or herself if you got suckered into battling Nana) with a plaster-filled Easter egg.
Did you find these tips helpful? If so, please share with other aspiring egg boxers and help bring a bit of raw brutality to the Easter festivities and make Egg Boxing the new American Easter tradition.
This past week when I emailed my work colleagues that Peter Cottontail had stopped by and left goodies in the kitchen, half ignored the message and the other half actually questioned who this generous Mr. Cottontail was and why he was leaving us all chocolate bunnies and colored eggs. When I responded that he had hippity-hopped his way down the bunny trail just to make a special stop, my colleagues were kind enough not to suggest that the extended Easter Holiday break might do me some good.
Though Peter Cottontail’s bunny trail may usually bypass the land of Schnitzel and Strudel, Austrians and Americans share many Easter traditions. We all dye Easter eggs, decorate our places with pussy willows, consume some kind of ham on Easter Sunday and give Easter baskets with enough sweets and chocolates to ensure post-sugar meltdowns all that way into summer. Sure the Easter Bunny comes for Easter, but in Austria the furry fellow looks and acts like a real rabbit whereas in the US, the Easter Bunny looks like some character who just escaped from Disneyworld.
But those Austrians, the gemütlich folk that they are, just had to one-up us on Easter traditions with Easter Monday. That’s right. Not only is Sunday a public holiday here, but Monday is too. As if five weeks of paid vacation a year ain’t enough.
But thank goodness Monday’s a holiday. It gives us an extra day to remember to move the clocks forward and sorely needed recovery time from marzipan-lamb hangover and Billa battle wounds from Saturday afternoon’s grocery store visit. Because if you’ve lived here long enough, you’ll realize that the extra day off means that all grocery stores will be closed from 5 pm Saturday until 7 am Tuesday. This in turns means that the Saturday shopping trip requires a gathering of supplies for the hunkered-down weekend and you and all other expats, immigrants and tourists will be descending on Billa at five to five on Saturday afternoon in a mad dash for the very last loaf of bread (carrot with whole wheat?) and organic-happy-cow-long-lasting milk. Pretend like you’re back in North Carolina and they just announced a hurricane warning and you’ll be in your element.
And if the grocery store isn’t enough to get your adrenaline pumping, then it’s time for another Austrian tradition that is kicking and screaming to make its way to the country of monster trucks, mud wrestling and nude beach Olympics. Quit tossing those eggs. Get rid of the spoons and lose the running shoes. You’re a grown-up now. Time for a grown-up Easter sport. Time for some… Egg Boxing!
Sure the Austrians quaintly call it “Eierpecken” – egg pecking. But we’re Americans, dang rabbit! And when we import a holiday tradition, we give it an injection of testosterone and a punch of raw brutality.
Tired of hearing about cousin Charlie’s new candy-red Ferrari La Ferrari? Put him in his place this coming Easter Sunday and challenge him man-to-man to an egg-boxing contest to see what old Chuckie’s really made of.
So tune in tomorrow where I got you covered with all you need to become the very next hard-boiled egg boxing champion – exclusively here: EGG BOXING 101 – The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Winning Egg Boxer
KC Blau is originally a steel city girl who has resided amongst the cobble-stoned lanes of Vienna, Austria for over 15 years. She is a German-English translator who loves to relate the tales of a bygone era of the fascinating women who lived, loved and struggled (not necessarily in that order) in turn-of-century Vienna.