Trading Kandi

“Trading kandi is part of rave culture. I don’t know how it started, but you know those edible candy bracelets? I think that’s how the custom started. I think people started abusing the candy bracelet trend of the 90’s and replaced them with drugs. Because of that, people started recreating these “drug bracelets” with actual beads to make them safer. I think after that, trading kandi became a thing. And candy is spelled k-a-n-d-i. Kandi is the actual bead bracelet just so you know….But yeah, so anyway, the custom evolved as just a way to say ‘thank you’ to a person you’ve met at a rave, like to say ‘hey, you’re cool I like you.’ When you give a bracelet to someone, you’re sort of giving a part of yourself. Some of your happiness. The bracelets kind of represent ‘you’ because you made it…But anyway, what you do is you go up to someone and say ‘hey you wana trade kandi?’ And if the other person is cool with that, then each person makes a peace sign with their fingers. Then you make a heart with the hands of each person…like this…Then you hold hands again as a sign of “unity.” And then you actually lock hands with the other person, say “respect” and the person with the kandi slides off the bracelet from their hand directly onto the other persons. After that, you hug. And that is trading Kandi.”

Context/Analysis: The informant first heard about the rave custom of trading kandi at his first rave. While he was waiting for his friend who was in the bathroom, this girl asked him if he had kandi. He said no, thinking she was looking for ecstasy pills. When he realized that was not the case, the girl showed him the process of how to trade kandi, and he received his first rave bracelet. The informant still has his first piece of kandi, indicating how significant it is to him. He informed that it felt nice to be connected to a complete stranger. He felt welcomed at the rave and has fallen in love with them since then. He has been going to raves for 5 years now. Ultimately, this custom is a ritual of initiation for people who have just been introduced to raving. Once you perform the ritual, the “newbie” raver has crossed a liminal and has been symbolically accepted into the rave culture.