A sweet farewell to Candicus season

Enough Peeps are manufactured each year to circle the globe twice.

Enough Peeps are manufactured each year to circle the globe twice.

This Easter Sunday passes with no small regret.

It’s the formal end of Candicus, the six month season of high powered candy sales and consumption.

Candicus begins with Halloween, followed by Christmas and Valentines day,  before  sweetly ending on  Easter Sunday.

If you look in the dictionary, you will find no definition for Candicus. It’s a name, a season really, that I invented to commemorate the sheer presence of sweets in our lives- Everything from candy corn and chocolate to jelly beans and, yes, Peeps.  It’s a multi-billion dollar candy industry driven by your sweet tooth and mine.

What's the best way to eat a chocolate bunny? A Candicus tradition dictates that you start with the ears first. Here are some Candicus facts:

  •  Easter is the second most important candy-eating occasion of the year for Americans, who consumed 7 billion pounds of candy in 2001, according to the National Confectioner’s Association.
  • In 2000, Americans spent almost $1.9 billion on Easter candy, while Halloween sales were almost $2 billion; Christmas, an estimated $1.4 billion; and Valentine’s Day, just more than $1 billion.
  •  Ninety million chocolate Easter bunnies are produced each year. Chocolate bunnies should be eaten ears first, according to 76 percent of Americans. Five percent said bunnies should be eaten feet first, while 4 percent favored eating the tail first. (Vote for your favorite way to eat a bunny at http://www.infoplease.com, too). 
  •  Americans buy more than 700 million Marshmallow Peeps, shaped like chicks, as well as Marshmallow Bunnies and Marshmallow Eggs, making them the most popular non-chocolate Easter candy.
  •  Americans consume 16 billion jellybeans at Easter, many of them hidden in baskets. If all the Easter jellybeans were lined end to end, they would circle the globe almost three times.
  •  Halloween, also known as Candicus Kick-off Day,  is the number one holiday for candy sales. U.S. sales neared $2.1 billion last year. 
  • Candy corn appeared to be the all around candy favorite as Americans  purchased 20 million pounds of the corn shaped treat according to the National Confectioners Association.
Jelly beans- A Candicus staple

Jelly beans- A Candicus staple

Sadly, Candicus ends on Easter, a day when Christian adults and children alike munch Peeps, chocolate Easter bunnies, jelly beans and other Easter edible sweetness.

The National Confectioners Association predicts Easter candy sales will reach $2 billion this year, up from $1.846 billion in 2008.

Business is strong at the big candy makers like Hershey, Nestle and Cadbury, all of which saw double-digit jumps in profits for 2008.

”We rarely have huge spikes or declines regardless of what’s going on with the economy,” Susan Fussell, spokeswoman for the National Confectioners Association told the Miami Herald. ”Candy is such a part of our lives in so many ways. There are traditions and customers in the United States that revolve around candy.”

So, why not call it Candicus?  

With teary regret, Candicus draws to an end. The only hope that keeps me going is knowing that a new day will dawn tomorrow…and Walgreens will markdown today’s Easter treats at 50 percent off.

About Bernard McCoy

My views are my own and not a reflection of my employer. I'm a professor of Journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I've also been a working journalist for the past 29 years. I have covered news stories in war zones, reported on human and natural disasters, presidential conventions, a presidential inauguration and the September 11th, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. My career experiences include work as an award-winning documentary producer, television news reporter, photographer, producer, and anchor. I worked at WIBW-TV, Topeka, KS., KCTV, Kansas City, MO, WKBD-TV, Detroit, MI., WILX-TV, Lansing, MI. and WBNS-TV, Columbus, OH. I have also worked as a contributing reporter for The Columbus Dispatch, Associated Press, CBS, CNN, the Ohio News Network and lecture at the Kosovo Institute of Journalism and Communications. I have a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and a master’s degree in telecommunications management from Michigan State University.
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