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.

Candy History

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 wasn’t always readily available, so the first candies were made from honey. Candymakers coated coat fruits and flowers with honey. This method preserved the flowers and nuts or created forms of candy. Today, we still create these confections, but they are typically seen 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 was only attainable by the wealthy.

Since 1979, the world has produced more sugar than can be sold, making it very attainable and cheap. 

Industrial Revolution

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 – Invention of the candy press making it possible to produce multiple shapes and sizes of candy at one time.
  • 1851 – Confectioners begin using a revolving steam pan to assist in boiling sugar.

The two top-selling candies in America have been: 

  • M & M’S – M&M’s are milk chocolate drops with a colorful candy coating on the outside. Forrest Mars, Sr. and William Murrie developed M&M’s following the Spanish Civil War. They stamped the new candy with the initials of their surnames. In 1941, they debuted the candies, and they were given to American soldiers serving in the Second World War. 
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups –  Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are round chocolate disks that are filled with a sweet, creamy peanut butter filling. Hershey’s company first manufactured the iconic cups in 1928.

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 Day Calendar® continues researching the origins of this sweet tasting holiday.

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November 4th 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 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.