Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Candy Culture

So I was lucky that I didn´t get attacked by strangers carrying candy bags on Saint Cosmo and Saint Damien day (Sept 27th).  As an American Mother, this is one of the strangest days ever in Brazil!  Even British Mom blogger Become Brazilian blogged about it.

This afternoon my husband´s Aunt dropped off a couple of bags of candy from the saints´day and it got me thinking.  On this particular day, strangers come to you and give you bags of candy for your kids. Ok, as an American you just don´t accept candy from strangers. Big no no.  To make it even better, the vast majority of these bags are full of homemade treats.  Aka. no wrappers.

I think my dead Grandmother just had a heart attack.  No wrappers! 

To make it even better, these bags are offerings to the saints.  Apparently, the people who give out the bags make a deal with these particular saints and, in return, they must give out candy to children. They are the childrens´ saints after all. 

My husband tells me it´s ok.  People wouldn´t give bad candy to kids down here.  I see his point. I really couldn´t imagine getting suspiros stuffed with razorblades in Rio.  

Of course, stateside, my childhood Halloween booty was thoroughly checked by both parents.  I can remember the good old days when you could get popcorn balls or homemade candied apples. I also remember when that became NOT ok.  I was told not to accept it, well, except from that one little old lady in the neighborhood that everyone knew.  We all know she´s saving the good drugs for herself, not wasting them on candy apples for the already hopped up neighborhood kids. 

So what gives?  Why do we have to worry about gun carrying, glue sniffing, drug dealers but can eat homemade candy handed over by their mothers?  Why can I walk down most US streets holding my laptop, listening to music on my ipod, and answering calls on my bluetooth but can´t take a tootsie roll without x-raying it first? 

A little game of would you rather. Which is it?


  1. Dunno! My BILs girlfriend told me the macumbeiros make the bags when they have an ailing child at home for example, and the kids ailment gets alleviated by being passed on to the kids who eat the candy. She said she ate the candy hidden as a child and got a fever and cried that night at church to confess. Not that I believe, just sayin' LOL Hoping when me & my love get our own place it's closer to all the interesting stuff you're seeing :)

  2. Luiz's mom is a said macumbeira (among other beliefs) and she ALWAYS passes out candy. Zozó maintains an alter crowded with saints, candles, moldy cups of coffee and christian medalians. At this alter she keeps vigil for numerous ailing friends, relatives and clients (including her son with leukemia).

    This year she was double booked for the day and insisted that Luiz pack up some candy and take it to the kids in the park. Yeah, right, Luiz just barked at her and ended the phone call. LOL!

    Our life is filled with magic charms - the bottle of salt that should bring money, the bay leaf in our wallets that is supposed to bring money, the ceramic penguin on top of the refrigerator that is supposed to bring money ... see a pattern here.

    This would make a good post. Maybe I'll stop here.

    And speaking of candy - I have a fun memory of riding a basic commercial bus to Cabo Frio and watching a 5 or 6 year old girl working the aisle shaking down all the old women for random sweets they had forgotten in the bottom of their purses. Never in the US.

  3. Clients? What does his Mom do?

  4. She uses her spiritual power to help people with big life decisions and she definitely helps people heal from illness and injury. She is quite a woman - sometimes it is spooky.

  5. You just solved the mystery surrounding the bag of candy my son came home with the other day. I asked him if it was someone's birthday at school and he said "no, it's a present from Pedro" and I thought it was a little weird but nice. Pedro has a small handicap. This makes sense now! Thank you, I never would have figured this out.

  6. Hey I found your bog very interesting! Just wanted to clarify that not only macumbeiras do it, but also catholics. It is like you said Rachel, they make a promessa to a Saint, kind of a bargain, "I'll give this many candies and you (the saint) will help me achieve something I want". It is true that it's weird to get candies from strangers, my mom ( I am a brazilian from a small town) never let me go out and get candy I could only accept candies from friends from school, since I went to a catholic school I would get around 4 bags from my class. I personally agree with you and her and think it's not safe to get candies from anyone, there are some crazy people out there.