NATIONAL CANDY DAY
On November 4th, we celebrate the sweet holiday, National Candy Day. Candies have a long history of attracting us with their bright colors and delightful flavors. They also come in a variety of fun sizes and shapes.
In the late 13th century, Middle English first began using the word candy. Borrowed from the Old French cucre candi, it is derived in turn from Persian Qand and Qandi, cane sugar.
People use the term candy as a broad category. We treat candy bars, chocolates, licorice, sour candies, salty candies, tart candies, hard candies, taffies, gumdrops, marshmallows and much more as candy.
However, sugar was not always readily available. So instead, people made the first candies from honey. Candymakers coated nuts, fruits and flowers with honey. This method preserved the flowers and nuts or created forms of candy. Today, we still create these confections, but we typically use them as a garnish.
Originally a form of medicine, candy calmed the digestive system or cooled a sore throat. At that time, combined with spices and sugar, candy only appeared in the purses and the dishes of the wealthy.
By the 18th century, the first candy likely came to America from Britain and France. At the time, people made the simplest form of candy from crystallized sugar – rock candy. However, even the most basic form of sugar was considered a luxury and only attainable by the wealthy.
Since 1979, the world has produced more sugar than can be sold, making it very attainable and cheap.
With the advent of the industrial revolution, many advances improved the availability of sugar. By the 1830s, markets opened, and the candy business underwent a drastic change. Not only did the price of candy drop, but penny candies targeted children.
- 1847 – Oliver R. Chase invents and patents the first candy press in America. The Boston inventor’s creation made making different lozenge shapes possible
- 1851 – Confectioners begin using a revolving steam pan to assist in boiling sugar.
- 1897 – William Morrison and John C. Wharton from Nashville invent the first cotton candy machine. At the time, the fluffy puffs of spun sugar were called Fairy Floss.
- M & M’s – Forrest Mars, Sr., and William Murrie developed these milk chocolate drops with the colorful candy coating following the Spanish Civil War. They stamped the new candy with the initials of their surnames. In 1941, they debuted the candies, and soon after, American soldiers serving in the Second World War received them as part of their rations.
- Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups – Hershey’s company first manufactured these round chocolate disks filled with sweet, creamy peanut butter filling in 1928.
- Christmas Candies – These hard candies come in the shape of ribbons or lozenges (thank you Oliver R. Chase!) and add a sweet, colorful memory to the holiday season.
- Necco Wafers – Despite being chalky and not too sweet, this candy still tops many people’s lists.
- PEZ – Not only does this tiny candy hit the sweet spot, but it also comes with a dispenser that often represents other iconic and inspirational characters.
- Lifesavers – Another hard candy, this sweet circular lozenge with a hole in it finds its way into mom’s purse and the stocking hung on the mantel.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalCandyDay
Four days after Halloween, you should be able to celebrate this day. Either you have leftover candy or can sneak some of your kid’s stash to celebrate. You can also scan the sales of Halloween candy at your local stores. Or, invite some friends to enjoy their favorite candies with you! While you’re celebrating, be sure to use #NationalCandyDay to post on social media.
NATIONAL CANDY DAY HISTORY
National Day Calendar® continues researching the origins of this sweet-tasting holiday.
Q. What are candy buttons?
A. Candy buttons are small dots of colored sugar on a strip of waxed paper. Originally made by the New England Confectionery Company (Necco), which opened in 1871, the candy is now made by Doscheser Candies (1893).
Q. What is the oldest candy company in the United States?
A. The answer to this question is found in Salem, Massachusetts. The Ye Old Pepper Companie started in 1806 when Mary Spencer arrived in Salem after a shipwreck. She began peddling a rock candy called “Salem Gibralter” (incidentally the first candy sold commercially in the U.S.) from a church. Her son sold the company in 1830 to John William Pepper. Then in the early 20th century, George Burkinshaw purchased The Ye Old Pepper Companie (then called the George W. Pepper Companie) and renamed it. It’s been operated by the same family since.
Q. What does M&M stand for?
A. The initials in the candy-coated chocolate stand for Mars and Murrie – Forrest Mars Sr. with the Mars candy company and William Murrie, president of the Hershey company.
Q. Why did the government ration chocolate during World War II?
A. The government rationed many items required for use by the military including meat, leather, rubber, gasoline and chocolate. Chocolate served as an emergency food source in the troops’ rations. Alternatively, it also provided a morale boost while serving so far from home.
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November 4th Celebrated (And Not So Celebrated) History
Upon being elected, Nellie T. Ross became the first woman governor in the United States.
After a review of the coordination efforts regarding communications intelligence in the U.S. government, the National Security Agency is established.
Dr. Jane Goodall observes chimpanzees creating tools for the first time. Before her observance, it was thought only humans created tools.
Due to rising gas prices, the Netherlands establishes the first Car-Free Sunday.
Barack Obama becomes the 44th United States President and the first biracial and first African American president.
November 4th Celebrated (And Not So Celebrated) Birthdays
Will Rogers – 1879
The vaudeville and film actor was known for his performances in numerous westerns and comedies. He also authored six books and wrote a newspaper column called “Daily Telegrams” that often commented humorously on current events.
Harry Ferguson – 1884
With a love for aviation and motors, Ferguson built a modern tractor with a three-point linkage system. His design was so successful that by the end of his career, he merged with Massey Harris.
Ruth Handler – 1916
During World War II, Ruth and her husband Elliot and Harold Matson founded Mattel. In 1956, Ruth developed the doll known as Barbie, named after her daughter.
Walter Cronkite – 1916
Considered “the most trusted man in American,” the television journalist anchored the CBS Evening News for almost 20 years.
Mary Sherman Morgan – 1921
Before there could be a rocket man, there was a rocket woman. In 1957, Morgan was the leading and first woman rocket fuel scientist. NASA turned to her to develop a fuel powerful enough to propel Explorer-I, America’s first satellite, into obit.
Laura Bush – 1946
The former teacher and librarian served as the First Lady from 2001-2009. During her time in the White House, the First Lady implemented several programs in support of literacy.
Ralph Macchio – 1961
Best known for his role as Daniel LaRusso in The Karate Kid films, he also starred in The Outsiders and My Cousin Vinny. On television, he appeared in hit shows such as Ugly Betty and a revival of the Karate Kid in Cobra Kai.
Sean Combs – 1969
The award-winning rapper also goes by the names Puff Daddy, P Diddy, Puffy and Diddy. His rise to fame began in 1997 when his first single and debut album reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The artist has also developed successful acting and producing careers.