30 October 2009
Posted in ITALY - CULTURE AND TRADITIONS
In Italy you cannot go to an important event without coming away with a small keepsake.
At events such as graduation parties, christenings, anniversaries, engagement parties and, of course, weddings.
These small, decorative bags and boxes, that we in the English speaking world know as wedding favours, are called bomboniere.
This tradition of giving wedding favours can be traced back to the middle ages, when the families of couples engaged to be married exchanged gifts, which were symbolic of the link between the two families. The concept itself dates back even further, with wealthy Roman families giving candied fruit and nuts, and even precious metals at weddings and other events.
The modern practice of covering almonds in a thick layer of sugar has more recent roots. It was in the 13th century, with the arrival of refined sugar in Europe, that rich families began to have these sweets made in part to exhibit their wealth. With industrialisation however sugar became cheaper and available to all levels of society.
People continue to give sugared almonds, also known as confetti, as part of wedding favours to this day, and it remains common practice to give them in odd numbers, specifically in threes and fives, signifying the indivisibility of marriage. Three symbolises the couple and a child. Five symbolises the five hoped for gifts of health, wealth, happiness, fertility and long life.
The colour of the bomboniere depends on the occasion at which it is presented, traditionally white for weddings, red for graduations, green for engagements and pink or blue for christenings. In addition, wedding anniversaries have their own colour of bomboniere (and confetti) with which to celebrate. The colours for your wedding anniversary can be found on our anniversary page.
Although it is traditional for confetti to be made of almonds for weddings and anniversaries, and are thought by many to symbolise the bittersweet nature of marriage, you can choose to use confetti made of chocolate, candied fruits, cinnamon sticks, liqueurs, walnuts and more - you can be as creative as you want.