‘Calaveras de Azúcar’ or sugar-candy skulls are made for celebrating Dia de los Muertos or the Day of the Dead festival. ‘Calaveras’ means ‘skull’ in Spanish. The tiny skulls are made from sugar and decorated with brilliant festive colours. Common ingredients in sugar skulls are powdered sugar, egg white, corn syrup, vanilla and cornstarch.
The sugar skulls are placed on dead people’s graves during the Day of the Dead festival to commemorate their lives. Because of their detailed decorations, many people consider sugar skulls to be art instead of candy. Sugar skulls help to strengthen the idea among children that death is a positive part of the life cycle. Therefore, sugar is not the only thing that goes into sugar skulls; there is also a meaningful message attached to them.
Mochi is a Japanese rice cake that is popular during Japanese New Year. It is made of glutinous rice pounded into paste and moulded into shape. The ceremony of making mochi in Japan is called mochitsuki. According to Shinto beliefs, making mochi invites the Kami (gods or spirits) to visit. Mochi also represents perfection and purity and are believed to give these qualities to those who eat it. Kagami mochi is a special Japanese New Year decoration, which is made using two rice cakes. It is usually displayed in the kamidana (miniature Shinto shrine placed high on the wall) for Toshigami, the god of New Year, to bring good luck and prosperity.Then, the kagami mochi is broken by hand or with a hammer and is then cooked. However, a knife is never used to cut the mochi since that represents cutting family ties.
The Easter Bunny is a character depicted as a rabbit carrying Easter eggs. According to legend, the Easter Bunny brings baskets filled with coloured eggs, candy and sometimes, toys to the homes of children on the night before Easter. During Easter, chocolate Easter bunnies, marshmallow bunnies and Peeps are sold. These candies are part of the Easter tradition.
Kheer or payasam is an Indian traditional sweet. This Indian dessert is similar to Western rice pudding. Kheer is regarded as one of the oldest desserts in the world, having been made for more than 2,000 years. In North India, kheer is believed to have originated from the city of Puri. According to legend, a man loaned money and rice to a poor king. When the king couldn’t repay him, the man suggested the king use whatever he had to make offerings to Lord Krishna. Today, kheer is not only cooked as an offering to God but is also served at religious festivals, weddings and feasts.