The 7th of December is Cotton Candy Day.
Cotton candy is a form of flavoured and coloured spun sugar. A special sugar called “floss sugar” is used, though perhaps the main ingredient for which you’re paying is “air”.
It is produced using centrifugal force in a machine, and served on a stick or in a bag. It melts in your mouth, and leaves your fingers and tongue coloured and sticky.
Summer time treat in winter
Cotton candy (aka candy floss) is a treat that brings back memories of summer outings to amusement parks, baseball games, carnivals, circuses, fairs and festivals. In fact, one of the first times it hit the big time was at the 1904 World’s Fair in St Louis, where it was sold in boxes.
Typically, cotton candy is a summertime treat, so it’s a mystery why someone decided to proclaim a day for it in December — and a mystery why other people went along with it. Perhaps it was just to bring back memories of the summer now past, or maybe the person was in Australia, where it is actually high summer at this time of year!
Or, maybe it is perfect for the Christmas season: after all, with sugar, food dye and artificial flavouring, why wouldn’t it fit right in!
Celebrating Candy Floss Day
Even though summer fairs in the northern hemisphere are many months away at this point, you can still celebrate Cotton Candy Day. You can buy it at many candy stores in bags year round now.
You can also get the taste with some cotton-candy flavoured ice cream, or have a Cotton Candy Frappuccino at Starbucks. To get one, just order a tall Vanilla Bean Frappuccino with one pump of raspberry syrup. Fans swear it actually tastes just like cotton candy.
In the 1950s and 1960s, stores would advertise that a given day was Cotton Candy Day at their store, offering free cotton candy to kids to entice the parents to come into the store. Presumably they would use a rented machine, which started being mass-produced in the 1950s. These offers occurred in all months of the year, even winter months.
The earliest print mention that CooksInfo is aware of for a “Cotton Candy Day” in December dates from 2000 in Utah:
“December is now under way…. Today, [Friday, 1st December], for example, is “National Pie Day” and “Eat a Red Apple Day.” No, you can’t cover your bases with a slice of apple pie. Put out a little effort. Monday is “Wear Brown Shoes Day”, Wednesday is “National Gazpacho Day”, and Thursday [7th December] is “National Cotton Candy Day”.” — Nailen, Dan. Culture Vulture. Salt Lake City, Utah: The Salt Lake Tribune. Friday, 1 December 2000. Page B1, col. 1.
The second print mention of it universally occurring on the 7th December that CooksInfo is aware of is in a list of “silly food holidays” compiled in 2004 by Emily Nunn of the Chicago Tribune:
“December…. Gazpacho Day (6), Cotton Candy Day (7), Pastry Day (9)….” Nunn, Emily. Surrender to never-ending glut of silly food holidays. Chicago Tribune. Reprinted in: Kerrville Daily Times. Kerrville, Texas. 22 Sep 2004. Page 3C. Col 1.
The third print mention of it being on the 7th of December occurred in the Nashua Telegraph in Nashua, New Hampshire, on 3 Dec 2007, when a writer alerted readers to the upcoming holiday:
“Sugar lovers… will rejoice over this week’s food holiday double-header.. Cotton Candy Day on Friday…. Believe it or not, an average-sized serving of cotton candy contains only 100 calories and about as much sugar as a can of soda.” The week in preview. Nashua, New Hampshire: Nashua Telegraph. Monday, 3 December 2007. Page 17, col. 3.
10 Sweet facts about cotton candy. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Accessed November 2020 at https://www.cbc.ca/kidscbc2/the-feed/10-sweet-facts-about-cotton-candy1
Breakfast buffet: National cotton candy day. CNN.com 7 December 2011. Accessed November 2020 at http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2011/12/07/breakfast-buffet-national-cotton-candy-day/
Kossman, Rachel. National cotton candy day. Boston Nite. 7 December 2011. Accessed November 2020 at http://archive.boston.com/thingstodo/nightlife/blogs/bostonite/2011/12/national_cotton_candy_day.html
Kelly, Matt. Sweet! National Cotton Candy day celebrated. Major League Baseball News. 7 December 2017. Access November 2020 at https://www.mlb.com/news/mlb-fans-celebrate-national-cotton-candy-day/c-263089942
Vargas, Karina. National Cotton Candy Day: 5 Ways to Enjoy This Sweet Treat. Entity Magazine. 12 September 2017. Accessed November 2020 at https://www.entitymag.com/national-cotton-candy-day/