Jordan almonds are pretty to look at and satisfyingly delicious to eat, combining a nutty almond center and a sweet candy coating—and they play a role in long-standing wedding traditions around the world.
The treats are especially popular at Italian, Greek, and Middle Eastern weddings, and are steeped in cultural symbolism. One of these symbols is found in the shape of the Jordan almond; the egg shape represents fertility and new beginnings. Their taste also has symbolic value. The delicate balance between the slight bitterness of the almond and its sweet coating serves to remind the newly married couple that life can be, at times, both bitter and sweet.
In Italian culture, Jordan almonds are called confetti. They have been given away at Italian weddings since the 14th century. You’ll usually find five of the candied almonds wrapped in tulle bundles to represent five blessings for the couple: health, wealth, fertility, happiness, and longevity.
For people with Greek heritage, candied almonds aren’t called Jordan almonds, but koufeta. Greek brides wrap the koufeta in groupings of odd numbers—usually three or five of them in a bundle—to represent a couple’s life being indivisible by two. It’s a symbol of the togetherness that comes with marriage. According to Greek superstition, if an unmarried person takes one of these wedding day almonds home and places it under their pillow, that night they will dream of their future spouse.
In Arabic, Jordan almonds are known as mlabbas, which translates to “candied.” The nuts are said to be aphrodisiacs in some Middle Eastern cultures, making Jordan almonds the perfect wedding treat for the couple and their guests.
While most Jordan almonds served at weddings are white, symbolizing purity, they come in many different colors, and aren’t exclusively given out at weddings. You might see pink or blue Jordan almonds at birth or baptisms. And for graduations, anniversaries, and other special occasions, you can enjoy them mixed up into a beautiful kaleidoscope of colorful, nutty candies.