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EGG BOXING 101 – The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Winning Egg Boxer

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.

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.

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)

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)

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.

Also check out previous Easter posts:

Easter in Austria vs. Easter in the US

Vienna’s Easter Markets

When the Bells Fall Silent and Fly to Rome: Holy Thursday to Easter Night

Who can resist the Egg Bear – Austrian word of the week

“Egg knockin” at the retirement home – check it out:




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

Also check out some previous Easter posts:
Vienna’s Easter Markets

When the Bells Fall Silent and Fly to Rome: Holy Thursday to Easter Night

Who can resist the Egg Bear – Austrian word of the week



Easter Eggs at Schönbrunn Easter Market in Vienna

Easter Eggs at Schönbrunn Easter Market in Vienna

Easter abounds in the month of March in Vienna. And I got you covered with over 10 different markets where you can eat, drink and be merry and – more importantly – finally find everything from lavender satchels to perfume his sports bag to the long-sought-after Kaiser Franz Josef egg – guaranteed to grant you instant Austrian friends-for-life at any Easter egg exchange event.
But be nimble – some of these markets are literally here today and gone the day after tomorrow.

Schönbrunner Schlossstraße, 1130 Wien
March 9 – 29, daily from 10 am – 6 pm
Public transportation: U4 Schönbrunn


Kaiser Franz Josef Egg - yours for the taking - available for purchase at a Vienna Easter Market near you

Kaiser Franz Josef Egg – yours for the taking – would I steer you wrong? Available for purchase at a Vienna Easter Market near you

(Freyung, 1010 Vienna – near Schotten Church)
March 11 – 28, daily 10 am – 7:30 pm
Public transportation: U3 Herrengasse or U2 Schottentor

(Am Hof, 1010 Vienna – on square in front of the Plaza Hotel)

from March 11. – 28, Mon – Thurs 11am-8 pm, Fri-Sun & Holidays 10am -8 pm
Public transportation: Herrengasse

Kalvarienberggasse, St. Bartholomäus Square, 1170 Vienna
March 9 – 27, Mon – Fri 10 am – 6 pm, Sat & Sun 9 am – 6 pm,
Live music every weekend starting at 4:30 pm
Public transportation: U2 to Schottentor and then tram 44 to Frauengasse OR an insider tip from a helpful reader: hop on the 43 at Schottentor and get off at Elterleinplatz and it’s right across the street (many thanks, Sandy!)


Wooden Easter Ornaments at Schönbrunn Castle Easter Market in Vienna

Wooden Easter Ornaments at Schönbrunn Castle Easter Market in Vienna

March 27, starting at 11 am
Public transportation: U2 Praterstern

February 19 – March 27, daily from 9 am – 9 pm
1210 Vienna, Franz-Jonas-Platz

Spitalgasse 2, 1090 Vienna
March 17 – 28, daily 12 – 9 pm
Public transportation: U2 Schottentor and then tram 38 or 40

Otmar-Brix-Gasse 1, 1110 Vienna
March 17 – 20
Public transportation: U3 to Simmering and then bus 73A

Quadenstraße 15 oder Oberfeldgasse, 1220 Vienna
March 26 – 28, daily from 10 am – 6 pm
Public transportation: U2 to Hardegggasse, then bus 95A


Happy Easter Chickens

Happy Easter Chickens

Freyung 6, 1010 Vienna
March 11 – 26, daily: 10am – 7:30 am
Organic Farmer Market Freyung
U2 Schottenring or U3 Herrengasse

Schüttauplatz 24, 1220 Vienna
March 18 – 20, daily from 8 am – 8 pm
Public Transportation: U1 to Kaisermühlen-VIC, then bus 92 A


When the Bells Fall Silent and Fly to Rome

Silence speaks when words cannot.

One of the most magical moments of the day in Vienna is 7 pm when the bells throughout the city start to ring. Their ringing times are slightly off-set so that as the baritone clangs of one church begin to fade, the ringing tones of another commence. No matter how many years I live here, I never tire of that sound and it is something I truly miss when I’m away.

Door Bell Sign Vienna

This door bell didn’t fly to Rome, she’s at the entrance of Rotenturmstrasse 19.

And for the past few days, I have missed them once again. Because wouldn’t you know it — in Austria (Germany, France and perhaps more parts of Europe), the bells pack up their things on Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday) after the service commemorating the Last Supper, and all fly to Rome not to be seen or heard from again until Easter.


Good question. No one knows for sure and therefore theories abound. Some of these include:

1)      They’re off to get a blessing from the Pope (as if he doesn’t have enough going on this time of year)

2)      Think there’s better food in Rome and they’re going there to enjoy it (quite possible given the great Italian pizza, pasta and ice-cream)

3)      Want to get away for a while to recuperate (we all can relate and Rome does have some great shops)

4)      To eat with the Pope (again, he seems pretty busy)

5)      To return with an Easter message from the Vatican (plausible)

6)      To go confess (oh the sinful lives of bells! Can you imagine: “Forgive me Father for I have sinned.” “What is it this year, Pummerin?”)

7)      To fetch the Easter eggs to drop down into the yards of Austrian country kids and the apartments of their city slicker counterparts. (kinda of like Italian pigeons who target American tourists with their own little fun droppings)

The Gloeckl Beer of Graz probably doesn't fly to Rome either.

The Glöckl Beer of Graz probably doesn’t fly to Rome either.

Perhaps in a show of a solidarity, or unwilling to work when the others aren’t (maybe a union thing) or maybe just a bit depressed but for whatever reason, when the bells fly away, the organs all take a hiatus too. But they don’t spread their organ wings and lift off, they just give everyone the silent treatment while the bells are gone.

And though I might often times enjoy the sound of silence, I also recognize that historically, before iPhones and Smart Phones and reminders and ring tones, bells served an important civic function. Back in yesteryear, it took a bit for pocket-sized watches to be inventedand not everyone could afford one. And try lugging a sundial with you to the pub. For this reason the church bells would inform folks where the fires were, when public entertainment events like executions were taking place and when they better get themselves back home to the wife from the pub.

Graz Clock Tower

The three bells in the Graz Clocktower probably took off for Rome too. The Hourly Bell (Stundenglocke) that rings on the hour, every hour; the Fire Bell (Feuerglocke) that would vary its ringing according to the district of Graz that had a fire and the Poor Sinner’s Bell (Armensünderglocke) that around 1450 marked when someone was being executed and in the 1800s became the Closing Time Bell (Sperrstunde Glocke) marking the closing of hour of the surrounding pubs (was he in for a serious sentence from the wife if he chose to ignore is? Something satisfying about it having once been the executionar bell).

So the function of the bells had to be replaced while they were absent and who better to do the job than the unpaid volunteers who have no authority to protest? Yep. Come on stage, altar boys and girls. Cause you will be working your rattles, large and small, in place of those bells. But it’s not all slave labor for the boys and girls. They are often rewarded for performing this public service with Easter eggs, chocolate or other small culinary tokens of appreciation.

Rattle (Ratschen) played by the altar boys and girls while the bells are in Rome.

Rattle (Ratschen) played by the altar boys and girls while the bells vacation in Rome.

Meanwhile the bells remain silent throughout the three climactic days of the Catholic calendar – the Triduum Sacrum, the “Holy Three Days” which include the Last Supper on Holy Thursday, the suffering and Crucifixion on Good Friday, and the Resurrection of Jesus on Easter Night.

As I write, the bells have returned again to their proper home and are ready to ring for me again for another year. Good to have you back home again!

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Here’s some additional sources about Vienna’s Pummerin and the Bells Flying to Rome:

Details in German about Pummerin and as soon as you click on the website, she’ll ring for you so pump up the volume:

A video (in German) about Pummerin with good shots of her so watch it even if you can’t understand:

Die Presse (Austrian daily newspaper) article about the “Bells Flying to Rome” legend: Presse Article on Bells

Vienna's Pummerin Bell

Pummerin Bell in Vienna’s St. Stephan’s Cathedral. She hangs in the north tower and is the third largest bell in Europe and the fifth largest in the world. She only rings on particularly religious holidays and on New Year’s Eve (cause she’s a bit of a party girl).