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11 Tips to Up Your Easter Egg Game

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Instead of resorting to the same old egg dyeing kit, try something new this Easter. Here are some out-of-the-box ideas for your next egg decorating party. 

1. Make swirls 

This trick draws its inspiration from an old elementary school experiment. Fill a container with milk and add several drops of different colors of food dye. Next, add a drop of shampoo to make the colors move and swirl. The soap dissolves the fat molecules and reduces the surface tension. The milky surface around the soap will begin to move and push the dye into different directions. The result is a swirled pattern of dye that just begs to have an egg dipped into it. 

2. Use a whisk 

If you insert your egg in a whisk, you can dip your eggs into dye without get your hands involved. Eggs often fall off of a spoon, but whisks create a cage to keep your creation in place. 

3. Scratch away a design

First, color the eggs with crayons; you can use one color or a whole rainbow. Next, paint over your colors with black paint. Once the paint dries, you can scratch away at the paint to reveal the colored egg underneath. Add some glitter for extra flair. 

4. Make them glow in the dark 

If an egg’s albumen (egg white) has more than 12 percent ovotransferrin, it can be made to glow. Heating a raw egg with sodium citrate (commonly found in food dye) can sometimes trigger this eerie effect. The video above shows what can happen when you briefly microwave a dyed egg. It doesn’t always work, so you may need to try a few eggs before you find one that glows. Just remember that the eggs are no longer edible once they've been through this process.

5. Bounce your eggs

You can change a hard eggshell’s properties by soaking it in vinegar for 24 hours. When you remove it, the egg will be soft and translucent. The acetic acid breaks down the eggshell, so what’s left is the yolk encased in the protective membrane. 

6. Use nail polish

For beautiful marbled eggs, try using unwanted nail polish. Fill a container with water and slowly pour several different colors of polish on top. Swirl the colors until they look exactly how you want. After putting on rubber gloves, dip your egg into the swirls. Ta-da! Marbled eggs. 

7. Dye them naturally 

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Instead of using artificial dyes, you can make your own natural dye with ingredients from your pantry. For a nice purple color, you can use beets or blueberries. Red cabbage makes a light blue color, and onion skins make yellow. Boil your food in vinegar and water; the vinegar will help strip the pigment from the food so you can use that color on your eggs. The natural dye will be less vibrant than artificial ones, but the imperfect coloring is uniquely charming. 

If you want to add a design that fits the natural theme, try tiny leaves. Situate flowers or leaves on your eggs and secure them by wrapping the egg in panty hose. Dip the whole thing in your dye. The leaf or flower will work like a stencil and leave a nice imprint on your egg. 

8. Make tie-dye eggs 

Start by coloring the egg with permanent markers—the more the better. Next, take a Q-tip dipped in nail polish remover and swab your egg. The acetone in the nail polish remover will break down the marker and make the colors bleed together. The finished product will look like you tie-dyed your egg

9. Use baking soda for added fun 

Another way to make tie-dye looking eggs is with baking soda. Mix food coloring with baking soda to create a thick colorful paste that can be painted onto your eggs. When the egg is fully covered, drop it into a glass of vinegar. Just like the volcano experiment from grade school, the glass will fizz and overflow. You can remove your egg with a spoon or whisk to find it beautifully colored. 

10. Melt some crayons 

This one requires some caution. While boiling your eggs, shave some crayons into a powder. When the eggs are done, carefully insert them into an egg carton. Before they cool, sprinkle the crayon shavings on top. The crayon will melt and create a cool texture. Just make sure you don't burn yourself on the eggs!

11. Boil your eggs with baking soda 

Once you’re finished decorating your eggs, you probably will want to eat them (so long as they’re not too covered in glitter or nail polish remover!). To assure that the egg shell will slip right off, boil your eggs with baking soda. The baking soda raises the pH of the water and helps separate the membrane from the shell for easy peeling. For added flair, try the trick in the video above and blow the egg right out of its shell. 

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Big Questions
Where Should You Place the Apostrophe in President's Day?
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Happy Presidents’ Day! Or is it President’s Day? Or Presidents Day? What you call the national holiday depends on where you are, who you’re honoring, and how you think we’re celebrating.

Saying "President’s Day" infers that the day belongs to a singular president, such as George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, whose birthdays are the basis for the holiday. On the other hand, referring to it as "Presidents’ Day" means that the day belongs to all of the presidents—that it’s their day collectively. Finally, calling the day "Presidents Day"—plural with no apostrophe—would indicate that we’re honoring all POTUSes past and present (yes, even Andrew Johnson), but that no one president actually owns the day.

You would think that in the nearly 140 years since "Washington’s Birthday" was declared a holiday in 1879, someone would have officially declared a way to spell the day. But in fact, even the White House itself hasn’t chosen a single variation for its style guide. They spelled it “President’s Day” here and “Presidents’ Day” here.


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Maybe that indecision comes from the fact that Presidents Day isn’t even a federal holiday. The federal holiday is technically still called “Washington’s Birthday,” and states can choose to call it whatever they want. Some states, like Iowa, don’t officially acknowledge the day at all. And the location of the punctuation mark is a moot point when individual states choose to call it something else entirely, like “George Washington’s Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day” in Arkansas, or “Birthdays of George Washington/Thomas Jefferson” in Alabama. (Alabama loves to split birthday celebrations, by the way; the third Monday in January celebrates both Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert E. Lee.)

You can look to official grammar sources to declare the right way, but even they don’t agree. The AP Stylebook prefers “Presidents Day,” while Chicago Style uses “Presidents’ Day.”

The bottom line: There’s no rhyme or reason to any of it. Go with what feels right. And even then, if you’re in one of those states that has chosen to spell it “President’s Day”—Washington, for example—and you use one of the grammar book stylings instead, you’re still technically wrong.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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holidays
10 Things You Might Not Know About Chinese New Year
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Some celebrants call it the Spring Festival, a stretch of time that signals the progression of the lunisolar Chinese calendar; others know it as the Chinese New Year. For a 15-day period beginning February 16, China will welcome the Year of the Dog, one of 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac table.

Sound unfamiliar? No need to worry: Check out 10 facts about how one-sixth of the world's total population rings in the new year.

1. THE HOLIDAY WAS ORIGINALLY MEANT TO SCARE OFF A MONSTER.

Nian at Chinese New Year
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As legend would have it, many of the trademarks of the Chinese New Year are rooted in an ancient fear of Nian, a ferocious monster who would wait until the first day of the year to terrorize villagers. Acting on the advice of a wise old sage, the townspeople used loud noises from drums, fireworks, and the color red to scare him off—all remain components of the celebration today.

2. A LOT OF FAMILIES USE IT AS MOTIVATION TO CLEAN THE HOUSE.

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While the methods of honoring the Chinese New Year have varied over the years, it originally began as an opportunity for households to cleanse their quarters of "huiqi," or the breaths of those that lingered in the area. Families performed meticulous cleaning rituals to honor deities that they believed would pay them visits. The holiday is still used as a time to get cleaning supplies out, although the work is supposed to be done before it officially begins.

3. IT WILL PROMPT BILLIONS OF TRIPS.

Man waiting for a train.
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Because the Chinese New Year places emphasis on family ties, hundreds of millions of people will use the Lunar period to make the trip home. Accounting for cars, trains, planes, and other methods of transport, the holiday is estimated to prompt nearly three billion trips over the 15-day timeframe.

4. IT INVOLVES A LOT OF SUPERSTITIONS.

Colorful pills and medications
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While not all revelers subscribe to embedded beliefs about what not to do during the Chinese New Year, others try their best to observe some very particular prohibitions. Visiting a hospital or taking medicine is believed to invite ill health; lending or borrowing money will promote debt; crying children can bring about bad luck.

5. SOME PEOPLE RENT BOYFRIENDS OR GIRLFRIENDS TO SOOTHE PARENTS.

Young Asian couple smiling
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In China, it's sometimes frowned upon to remain single as you enter your thirties. When singles return home to visit their parents, some will opt to hire a person to pose as their significant other in order to make it appear like they're in a relationship and avoid parental scolding. Rent-a-boyfriends or girlfriends can get an average of $145 a day.

6. RED ENVELOPES ARE EVERYWHERE.

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An often-observed tradition during Spring Festival is to give gifts of red envelopes containing money. (The color red symbolizes energy and fortune.) New bills are expected; old, wrinkled cash is a sign of laziness. People sometimes walk around with cash-stuffed envelopes in case they run into someone they need to give a gift to. If someone offers you an envelope, it's best to accept it with both hands and open it in private.

7. IT CAN CREATE RECORD LEVELS OF SMOG.

fireworks over Beijing's Forbidden City
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Fireworks are a staple of Spring Festival in China, but there's more danger associated with the tradition than explosive mishaps. Cities like Beijing can experience a 15-fold increase in particulate pollution. In 2016, Shanghai banned the lighting of fireworks within the metropolitan area.

8. BLACK CLOTHES ARE A BAD OMEN.

toddler dressed up for Chinese New Year
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So are white clothes. In China, both black and white apparel is traditionally associated with mourning and are to be avoided during the Lunar month. The red, colorful clothes favored for the holiday symbolize good fortune.

9. IT LEADS TO PLANES BEING STUFFED FULL OF CHERRIES.

Bowl of cherries
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Cherries are such a popular food during the Festival that suppliers need to go to extremes in order to meet demand—last year Singapore Airlines flew four chartered jets to Southeast and North Asian areas. More than 300 tons were being delivered in time for the festivities.

10. PANDA EXPRESS IS HOPING IT'LL CATCH ON IN THE STATES.

Box of takeout Chinese food from Panda Express
domandtrey, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Although their Chinese food menu runs more along the lines of Americanized fare, the franchise Panda Express is still hoping the U.S. will get more involved in the festival. The chain is promoting the holiday in its locations by running ad spots and giving away a red envelope containing a gift: a coupon for free food. Aside from a boost in business, Panda Express hopes to raise awareness about the popular holiday in North America.

A version of this story originally ran in 2017.

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