In Japan, it’s customary to give lucky candy to people you know on their special days: New Year’s, Girls’ or Boys’ Day, and others. These are often referred to as “zoonotic sweets” ( ozonoto Kashi, meaning “lucky sweets day”). In each of these situations, there is a unique type of candy that has been passed down over generations for good luck. We’re talking about the famous Japanese Kit Kat! There are many versions of this lucky story but they all revolve around the traditional Japanese belief that giving someone something difficult to eat brings them good fortune. And trust us, no one finds eating a Kit Kat awkward. If you want to learn more about this Japanese tradition and some other cool facts about Kit Kats, keep reading!
What is a Kit Kat?
A Kit Kat is a popular snack food manufactured by U.S.-based Nestlé under license from its owner, The Hershey Company. The name is a shortening of the original name “Kit Kat Bar”, which was invented by Rowntree’s of York, UK, and first produced in 1936. This chocolate-covered wafer bar is loved by people all around the world. It comes in many different flavors, including white chocolate, caramel, and even green tea.
Although it’s often eaten as a snack, it can also be used as an ingredient in other desserts or even eaten as a breakfast cereal with milk. There are a few theories about how the original Kit Kat Bar got its name. One says that it came from the silent film era when the name was used for a fictional chocolate bar in a series of comedy films. Another says that the name comes from the name of the shop where it was first produced Kit Kat Cafe.
Why Is the Japanese Kit Kat Called “Lucky”?
As we said, the original Kit Kat Bar was created as a difficult-to-eat snack. The recipe calls for a wafer with a crispy outside and a chewy inside. Which is just the right texture to make it difficult to bite through. This is called a “biscuity” texture and is common in British sweets. The recipe for the inside of the chocolate is a little softer than normal to make it easy to break off and eat. The Japanese Kit Kat, with its signature criss-cross pattern, was created with the same “biscuity” texture as the original English version. but, with the name “Kit Kat” being a registered trademark in the UK, a new name was needed for the Japanese variant.
Which Day Gets Which Candy?
New Year: Red Beans and Blue Beans. These are often given on New Year’s Day when people visit a Shrine and make wishes for the year. Children enjoy collecting these beans as a memento of the day. Girls’ Day: Strawberry Shortcake and Blueberry Shortcake. This is a special day for girls, celebrated on March 3. The day is about encouraging girls to be ambitious and confident, and celebrating the special bond between mothers and daughters! Boys’ Day: Macaron Chocolates and Choco Corn. This day is celebrated on May 5, one day after Girl’s Day. The day is about encouraging boys to be thoughtful, cheerful, and considerate towards others.
There are many different candies passed down through the generations in Japan. Unfortunately, many of them are not readily available in other countries. That doesn’t mean you can’t try them, though! The Kit Kat is easily available in most countries and makes a great gift for anyone. The next time you have a birthday, anniversary, or other special occasion coming up, why not try giving out something unique and memorable? You never know what it may start a new tradition for you and your loved ones!