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Weddings. They're beautiful, they're fun, but where did those crazy traditions come from?

1. THE EGYPTIANS WERE PROBABLY THE FIRST TO EXCHANGE WEDDING RINGS. By medieval times, it was believed that a vein ran from the fourth finger of the left hand to the heart, so this became the trendy place to show off your rock.

2. BUT ENGAGEMENT RINGS DIDN’T TAKE OFF UNTIL THE MIDDLE AGES. In 1215, Pope Innocent III declared that there should be a longer waiting period between betrothal and marriage, spiking the ring’s popularity.

3. AND DIAMONDS CAME EVEN LATER. Though the first recorded exchange of a diamond engagement ring was in 1477, when Archduke Maximilian of Austria proposed to Mary of Burgundy, they weren’t the standard until 1947, when Frances Gerety, who never herself married, coined “A Diamond Is Forever” for De Beers.

4. WHITE WEDDING DRESSES WEREN’T DE RIGUEUR until Queen Victoria wore one to marry Albert of Saxe-Coburg in 1840.

5. IN ANCIENT TIMES, BRIDES CARRIED BUNCHES OF AROMATIC HERBS, like garlic, dill, and rosemary, to ward off evil spirits; this tradition continued into the 1800s. (Guests, it’s said, might also nibble on the herbs for fresh breath.) Queen Victoria, who carried a bouquet of snowdrops, also gets credit for starting the modern floral trend.

6. THROWING THE BOUQUET WASN’T ALWAYS ABOUT CALLING OUT SINGLE LADIES—it started because guests used to tear off pieces of the bride’s dress in an attempt to take some of her luck home. The tossed flowers were intended to distract the crowd so she could get away unscathed.

7. EARLY BRIDESMAIDS WERE DRESSED EXACTLY LIKE THE BRIDE TO CONFUSE EVIL SPIRITS, who might otherwise target the happy couple. It wasn’t until the trend-setting Victorian era that bridesmaids began wearing white dresses with short veils, setting them a bit apart from the bride.

8. THE HONEYMOON COMES FROM A NORSE TRADITION, wherein newlyweds would go into hiding for a month, drinking a cup of honey wine every day.

9. THE BRIDE STANDS TO THE GROOM’S LEFT AT THE ALTAR because in the old days of “marriage by capture” the groom needed his right hand free to fight off other suitors.

10. THE PHRASE “TYING THE KNOT” comes from an old Irish custom called handfasting, which involved tying the bride and groom’s hands together at the ceremony to symbolize their commitment.

11. DURING THE ROMAN EMPIRE, WEDDING CAKES WERE ACTUALLY BREAD, and they were broken over the head of the bride by the groom to symbolize fertility. Today’s tradition of smearing cake on each other’s faces is a little sweeter.

It's that glorious time of year once again. Spring has sprung, we're turning on our air conditioners, and an entire aisle of the grocery store is devoted to sugar-coated, pastel-colored Easter things. If you're a parent, you'll likely be heading to said aisle sometime soon to stock up on candy to place in your children's baskets. If you're me, you'll be heading there the day after Easter to get everything at half price.

 

Either way, you need some guidance.

Too often as a child (and even now) I found my stock of Easter goodies marred by a few rotten eggs, so to speak. A few items that never should have made it past beta testing in the candy factory. A few too many marshmallow-esque creations.

So regardless of whom you're buying Easter candy for this year, please consider the multitude of options out there. And don't buy any of this crap.

 

cadbury-chocolate-creme-egg.jpg
 

10. Cadbury Creme Egg

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I'm going out on a limb here and proclaiming that Cadbury Creme Eggs are some of the worst candies out there, though I know many would argue the opposite. Allow me to explain. First, each egg contains 150 calories. That's like a serving of ice cream or several big handfuls of popcorn. Second, they look gross. Bite through the chocolate shell and you're treated to a "creme" filling intended to resemble a raw egg white and yolk. 'Cause when I think delicious, I think raw eggs. Unfortunately, the white part resembles certain bodily fluids much more than it does actual egg white. And it's cloyingly, almost unbearably sweet. I challenge you to eat an entire Cadbury egg in less than a minute without going into diabetic shock.

 

 

JordanAlmonds.jpg
 

9. Jordan Almonds


Hey kids, who wants to break a tooth? Because that's a distinct possibility when you bite into an accursed Jordan almond, a tasty-sounding treat that's simply an almond coated in sugar. Too bad the sugar coating tastes more like chalk than anything found in a kitchen, and the almonds contained within are generally flavorless. The reason they're considered an Easter candy even though they can be purchased year-round is that they're pastel-colored. And that's about it. I guess they're sort of egg-shaped, too, but in reality, Jordan almonds have about as much to do with Easter as a pebble. (The pebble might taste better, though.)

8. Fluffy Stuff Cotton Tails


Part of the joy of eating cotton candy comes from watching the person making it at a fair or carnival sweep a hand around the giant metal bowl, picking up wisps of sugar along the way. It's fresh, and when you put a fluffy handful into your mouth, it immediately melts upon meeting your tongue--a fun sensation no matter your age. Fluffy Stuff Cotton Tails are not similarly satisfying. They aren't even really fluffy. They're hard, compact balls of sugar in unpleasant faded shades of blue and pink. You might as well dig into an old bag of sugar, find a few clumps and eat that instead. It tastes the same, and it's cheaper.

 

 

foiled-double-crisp-chocolate-easter-candy-coins-125336-w.jpg
 

7. Bunny Munny


This treat is particularly offensive to me because it masquerades as something delicious. Chocolate with a bit of crispy rice in it? What could possibly be bad about that? How about the fact that they unfortunately taste more like cardboard with a slight chocolate flavor than actual chocolate? They purport to be made with real chocolate, but if that's true, why do they taste so unfortunate? And can we talk about how offensive that spelling of "munny" is to anyone older than 10? Don't purposefully misspell candy names to be cute! No one thinks it's cute! Sidenote: On the Candy Warehouse website, there is actually a disclaimer, "Sorry, these treats are not a valid form of U.S. currency." In case you were confused.

6. Bunny Basket Eggs/Easter Hunt Eggs


Brach's is perhaps the worst offender on this list, bringing us three of the ten worst candies, direct from their testing and manufacturing plant in some faraway land where no one has taste buds. Bunny Basket Eggs are the least offensive of the three, featuring, essentially, fake gummy marshmallows surrounded by a coating of bad jelly bean. They stick in your teeth. They melt in your plastic eggs. They get awkward jelly bean coating color on your fingers. And what do you get for your trouble? Nastiness. Pretty much just a hunk of sugar that tastes like artificial fruit and giving up.

 

 

flowerpottopiary.jpg
 

5. Peeps


People either love Peeps or hate them. I personally like to heat them up in the microwave and watch them balloon to enormous sizes and then deflate. I like to stick toothpicks in them while they're in the microwave and allow them to joust. I like to use them as cat toys. I do not like to eat them. Like the Bunny Basket Eggs, Peeps purport to be marshmallows, but are, in fact, some marshmallow/sugar hybrid that ends up tasting like both and neither simultaneously. They are messy (colored granulated sugar EVERYWHERE), nearly flavorless and manufactured by a company creepily named "Just Born." Perhaps the best use of Peeps is in the dioramas that crazy people with far too much time on their hands make every year.

4. Generic Jelly Beans


I can get behind a few specific flavors of Jelly Belly jelly beans. I quite like the Starburst jelly beans. I absolutely cannot handle generic jelly beans. They're waxy and often florescent in color, and they taste like little more than sugar and horrendously bastardized fruit. At least Jelly Bellys and Starburst attempt to inject flavor into the tiny kidney bean-shaped candy. Not so other brands (I'm looking at you, Brach's). They're content to color their products without adding any legitimate flavor. Unless the flavor they're going for is wax. In that case, well done.

 

 

easter-candy-corn-ff-127500.jpg

3. Easter Candy Corn


IT'S NOT EVEN GOOD AT HALLOWEEN. WHY MAKE IT FOR ANOTHER HOLIDAY?! WHY?! Shockingly, it looks even more gross in pastel shades.

2. Chocolate Crosses


Oh hey, I have a great idea. Let's remind people of the reason for the season, so to speak, by replacing chocolate bunnies with chocolate crosses. I mean, I realize the whole notion of Easter candy seems frivolous, but I think mass-producing crosses for the kiddos to put in their Easter baskets would really add some gravitas to the affair. The only question is, where do you start eating a chocolate cross? With the bunnies you start with the ears. With the cross do you start with where the head should be? Do you break off the section for the left arm? That reminds me: Many people, including Jesus, were murdered on these things. Are we sure they're appropriate fodder for foodstuffs? Oh, who am I kidding, of course they are! And then, once a child eats an entire chocolate cross in once sitting and proceeds to get violently ill from too much sugar, he or she will truly understand the Lord's suffering.

 

 

brachs-easter-marshmallow-chicks-and-rabbits-ff-130708.jpg
 

1. Brach's Chicks & Rabbits


These are the items I as a child most dreaded finding in Easter baskets or stuffed unceremoniously into plastic eggs at parties. What would I do if someone presented me with a bright-orange hunk of eraser disguised as candy? Would I feign delight and eat it anyway, then risk melodramatically gagging and spitting it out at the feet of my gracious host? Would I tuck it away to later slip to a poor, unwitting canine? Would I throw it nonchalantly into someone else's basket. I honestly don't remember what I did with the damn things, but I guarantee you I didn't eat them. Fool me once...and all that jazz. The flavor is listed as "marshmallow," which, if you believe the multitude of flavored-vodka products out there is, in fact, a genuine flavor. But these don't taste anything like marshmallows. They're essentially the same material as those off-putting orange Circus Peanuts candies--soft so long as they've never touched oxygen, but instantly hardening into toothbreaking plaster once exposed to the elements. Worse still, the candies only vaguely resemble the eponymous chicks and rabbits. They're much more akin to totem poles or idols used for some bizarre, decidedly not Easter-y ritual. Consume at your own risk.

 
 



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