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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 06/01/11

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

CANDY FACTS TO MAKE EATING THAT BIT OF CHOCOLATE A LITTLE MORE INTERESTING!



A Quick Guide to Candy Facts

  • Besides being great for the taste buds, there are other interesting candy facts that you may not know.

  • Candy - the word usually refers to foods made from sugar. It may be added to a liquid or sprinkled on top, but sugar is the main ingredient. There is seemingly no end to the candy that we can make.



  • A few of the more interesting candy facts:

  • Each year, there are 60 million chocolate Easter bunnies made.

  • Making a marshmallow peep takes six minutes.






  • Cocoa butter's melting point is only a bit above the human body temperature, which is why chocolate can melt in your hands, as well as your mouth.

  • One of the most unbelievable candy facts: Americans over the age of 18 eat 65 percent of every year's candy production – not the kids!

  • Americans eat about 25 pounds of candy per person annually. In contrast, the people in Denmark eat 36 pounds per person.

  • From the list of bizarre candy facts:

  • King Tut's tomb contained large supplies of licorice.

  • Seven billion pounds of candy and chocolate are made in the United States every year.

  • Americans like chocolate the best of any flavor; 52% of adults in the United States said chocolate is their favorite flavor. Second place was a tie – vanilla and berry flavors.




  • Makers of chocolate use 20% of the world's supply of peanuts and 40% of the world's almonds in their products.

  • The Midwest and Northeast eat more candy than the Mid-Atlantic, West, South or Southwest regions.

  • More Candy Facts For Your Enjoyment! 






  • Recent studies show that candy is a school child's number one choice for an after school treat.

  • Hard candies are more popular with young children than older children.

  • In the category of longevity candy facts, roughly 65% of U.S. candy brands have been in existence for fifty years or more.

  • Some “ageless” candy facts:





  • Butterfinger bars were invented in 1923, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups also in 1923, The Snickers bar in 1930, and Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar in 1900.

  • M&M's were invented in 1940, Nestle's Crunch in 1938, Kit Kats in 1933, and Three Musketeers bars in 1932.






    Odd names in candy facts lore:

    • Some candy names introduced in the 1920's: Chicken Dinner, Snickers, Butterfinger, Milky Way, Mr. Goodbar, Oh Henry, Kandy Kake, Vegetable Sandwich, Big Dearos, Fat Emmas and Milk Nut Loaf. It’s no wonder some of those didn't last.




    •  Milky Way's were introduced in 1923, by Frank Mars. They went on to make the Snickers bar starting in 1930. Three Musketeers were brought out in 1932, and the original Three Musketeers had three separate bars, each a different flavor!


    LAG BAOMER!!




       Lag BaOmer (Hebrew: ל"ג בעומר‎), also known as Lag LaOmer amongst Sephardi Jews, is a Jewish holiday celebrated on the thirty-third day of the Counting of the Omer, which occurs on the 18th day of Iyar.
       Lag BaOmer is Hebrew for "33rd [day] in the Omer". The Hebrew letter ל (lamed) or "L" represents "30" and ג (gimmel) or "G" represents "3". A vowel sound is conventionally added for pronunciation purposes.
       Some Jews call this holiday Lag LaOmer, which means "33rd [day] of the Omer", as opposed to Lag BaOmer, "33rd [day] in the Omer." Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson writes in his Likkutei Sichos that the reason why the day should be called Lag BaOmer and not Lag LaOmer is because the Hebrew words Lag BaOmer (ל"ג בעמר), spelled without the "vav", have the same gematria as Moshe (משה), and Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai was mystically a spark of the soul of Moses.





    The biblical mandate to count the Omer appears in Leviticus 23:15-16, which states that it is a mitzvah to count seven complete weeks from the day after Passover night ending with the festival of Shavuot on the fiftieth day. The 49 days of the Omer correspond both to the time between physical emancipation from Egypt and the spiritual liberation of the giving of the Torah at the foot of Mount Sinai on Shavuot, as well as the time between the barley harvest and the wheat harvest in ancient Israel. 
       During the time of Rabbi Akiva,  24,000 of his students died from a divine-sent plague during the counting of the Omer.  that this was because they did not show proper respect to one another, befitting their level; they begrudged each other the spiritual levels attained by their comrades. Jews celebrate Lag BaOmer, the 33rd day of the count, as the traditional day that this plague ended.





       After the death of Rabbi Akiva's 24,000 students, he taught just five students, among them Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. The latter went on to become the greatest teacher of Torah in his generation.According to tradition, on the day of bar Yochai's death, he revealed the deepest secrets of the Kabbalah.  Indeed this day is seen as a celebration of the giving of the hidden, mystical Torah through Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, as a parallel to Shavuot, which celebrates the giving of the revealed Torah through Moses.
       During the Middle Ages, Lag BaOmer became a special holiday for rabbinical students and was called the "scholar's festival." It was customary to rejoice on this day through various kinds of merrymaking.


    The grave of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai


    Customs and Practices


       The Grave of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai in Meron on Lag BaOmer
       As restrictions of mourning are lifted on this 33rd day of the Omer, weddings, parties, listening to music, and haircuts are commonly scheduled to coincide with this day. Families go on picnics and outings. Children go out to the fields with their teachers with bows and (rubber-tipped) arrows. Tachanun, the prayer for special Divine mercy on one's behalf is not said, because when God is showing one a "smiling face," so to speak, as He does especially on the holidays, there is no need to ask for special mercy.
       In Meron, the burial place of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his son, Rabbi Elazar, hundreds of thousands of Jews gather to celebrate with bonfires, torches, song and feasting. This was a specific request by Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai of his students.






       In Israel, Lag BaOmer is a school holiday. Youngsters and their parents light bonfires in open spaces in cities and towns throughout the country. Students' Day is celebrated on the campuses of the various universities.  Lag BaOmer is also a favorite day for weddings.
       Israeli boys collect wood for a Lag BaOmer bonfire.In Israel, one knows that Lag BaOmer is drawing near when children begin collecting wood boards, old doors, and anything made from wood that can burn. This happens from 1 to 2 weeks before Lag BaOmer; the bonfires are erected by the children the day before Lag BaOmer and the adults light them at night.






     Bonfires
       The most well-known custom of Lag BaOmer is the lighting of bonfires. Some say that as bar Yochai gave spiritual light to the world with the revelation of the Zohar, bonfires are lit to symbolize the impact of his teachings. As his passing left such a "light" behind, many candles and/or bonfires are lit.
       The Bnei Yissaschar cites another reason for the lighting of bonfires. On the day of his death Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai said, "Now it is my desire to reveal secrets...The day will not go to its place like any other, for this entire day stands within my domain..." Daylight was miraculously extended until Rabbi Shimon had completed his final teaching and died. This symbolized that all light is subservient to spiritual light, and particularly to the primeval light contained within the mystical teachings of the Torah. As such, the custom of lighting fires symbolizes this revelation of powerful light.





       At the tomb of Rabbi Shimon, the honor of lighting the main bonfire traditionally goes to the Rebbes of the Boyaner dynasty. This fire is lit on the roof of the tomb at 2:00 a.m.

    Parades
       A Lag BaOmer parade in front of Chabad headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York, in 1987.The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, encouraged Lag BaOmer parades to be held in Jewish communities around the world as a demonstration of Jewish unity & pride.  Chabad sponsors parades as well as rallies, bonfires and barbecues for thousands of participants around the world.






    Chai Rotel
       Another custom is the giving of chai rotel (Hebrew: ח"י רוטל‎) at the tomb of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. The Hebrew letters chet and yod are the gematria (numerical equivalent) of 18. Rotel is a liquid measure of about 3 liters. Thus, 18 rotels equals 54 liters or about 13 gallons. It is popularly believed that if one donates or offers 18 rotels of liquid refreshment (grape juice, wine, soda or even water) to those attending the celebrations at Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai's tomb on Lag BaOmer, then the giver will be granted miraculous salvation.





       According to Taamei Minhagim, many childless couples found success with this segulah (propitious practice). This practice was also endorsed by Rabbi Ovadia miBartenura.  Several local organizations solicit donations of chai rotel and hand out the drinks on the donor's behalf in Meron on Lag BaOmer. Nine months after Lag BaOmer, the Ohel Rashbi organization even invites couples who prayed at the tomb and had a child to come back to Meron to celebrate the births.







     First Haircut for Children
       It is a custom at the Meron celebrations, dating from the time of Rabbi Isaac Luria, that three-year-old boys are given their first haircuts (upsherin), while their parents distribute wine and sweets. Similar upsherin celebrations are simultaneously held in Jerusalem at the grave of Shimon Hatzaddik for Jerusalemites who cannot travel to Meron.