Which annual holiday is your favorite? Some kids would say Christmas, because they enjoy opening presents from their friends and family members. Others might say Independence Day, since it can be a lot of fun to have a picnic and watch fireworks light up the night sky.
Other kids, however, might like Halloween more than any other holiday. And why not? It's always a blast to dress up like a superhero, a goblin, or a fireman. Of course, there's also that other aspect of Halloween the kids are quite fond of. What are we talking about? The candy, of course!
From gummy bears and suckers to candy bars and chewing gum, most kids receive a wide variety of candy on Halloween. In fact, a typical bag of Halloween candy might contain dozens and dozens of different kinds of candies. So who invented all of this stuff?
Human beings have had a sweet tooth for thousands of years. In the earliest days, human beings learned that the honey produced by bees was sweet and pleasant to eat. It probably did not take long for early humans to combine honey with nuts and other foods to make the world's first homemade candies.
Because historical records only go back a few thousand years, it's impossible to pinpoint exactly when candy was invented and who was responsible. The word candy comes from the Persian word qandi, but experts know candy itself is much older than the ancient Persians.
Defining candy as any confection made with sugar, honey, or another sweetener, experts have identified manuscripts that depict candies from ancient Egypt. Archeologists believe these documents to be over 2,000 years old.
For this reason, some experts give the ancient Egyptians credit for inventing candy. The ancient Egyptians used honey to make candy by combining it with nuts, figs, dates, and spices. They used these candies as part of early religious services.
Other ancient civilizations, including the ancient Romans, Greeks, and Chinese, also enjoyed candies. In addition to honey, these civilizations used barley sugar mixed with sesame seeds, fruits, and other ingredients.
In the Middle Ages, sugar became a popular ingredient to make candies. The price of sugar was very high, though, so sugar candies were mainly enjoyed only by the rich. Some of the earliest candies were also considered forms of medicine and were used to aid in digestion or to soothe sore throats.
It was not until a couple hundred years later during the Industrial Revolution that machinery would be invented to mass produce candies from sugar, which had become more affordable. The earliest candies were basic staples, like candy corn and chewing gum. At the turn of the 20th century, chocolate bars began to become more popular, spurring the popularity of candy to a whole new level.