I think she looks shady
If you are a child or have a child and were in Rio de Janeiro on the 27th of September you may have been offered bags of candy from a stranger.
The first time this happened to me I thought the woman was joking. Really, I'm going to take a paper baggie of homemade (and thus unwrapped) candy from some strange lady giving them away at the park. Sure, that sounds like a really smart plan.
As it turns out it's another one of those fabulous cultural differences/traditions. You see, the are some random Saints called São Cosme and São Damião. Since Americans are like the worst Catholics ever, I think we missed the memo on these guys. They are the Saints of children. As the story goes, they were fabulously good people when alive (as most saints are) and after death they would materialize to help children who were victims of violence or illness. By the way, they were also doctors and obviously wonderfully good at multitasking.
Anyway, so Cariocas give out homemade candies to children in honor of these two saints. It's also said that people pray and make deals with these two, promising that if they heal a certain sick child the family member will give out x number of bags. I have also heard it said that some people put a Macumba (bad spell from the religion of Candomblé) on the bags as to pass the illness of the one child onto the children who accept the goodies.
Personally, regardless of all said above, I just think it is weird to take candy from strangers. I suppose all those after school specials in the US hit home for me. I'm sorry but I don't care if it is some sweet old lady giving them out. Sweet, old or whatever you can still be twisted.
I know what Brazilians would say to this. They'd say "But we aren't like you. We don't hurt children! Who would put bad stuff in candy and hand it out!?"
I don't know but I do remember the urban legend that circulated Halloween of 1986. My Mother confiscated any candy that looked like it was looked at. My bag of booty turned into a big old bag of sad! I think that may have traumatized me to this day and now I will never look at bags of candy the same again.
So you tell me, would you take candy from a stranger in the name of a Saint?