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Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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birth is a life event associated with sweet foods that appear in various rituals, among which baptism, christening, or other formal presentation of a new child to a community are public events, while the actual birth, attended by women only (at least historically), is private. The foods served vary according to religion, culture, and personal beliefs, but sweetness fulfills various symbolic and practical roles, including bestowing good fortune on the child and wishing the mother well to recover her strength. Sweets form part of gift exchanges within a community and can symbolize joy and fertility, prosperity, and also provide visitors with refreshment.