Because almond trees are the first to respond to the warmth
of the spring sun, sending out blossoms that burst even before leaves appear, they
represent the magical renewal of life. In Greek mythology they became the
symbol of immortal, forever re-blossoming love, so in Greece, Italy and along
the southern Mediterranean, almonds are a marriage must-do. They are sometimes
offered at German weddings too because almonds are associated with fertility.
Most wedding almonds are candy-coated “Jordan almonds” in
keeping with a tradition that supposedly originated in ancient Rome, where
honey-covered almonds from trees native to the banks of the River Jordan were
served at festivities. In the 15th century, when sugar became common, the nuts
were coated in pastel colors. The "bitter" nuts with bright sugar
coating stand for the bittersweet of married life or the bitterness of life now
with the sweet coating of love. They come in little bags with an odd number of
almonds since odd numbers are indivisible, as guests wish the couple to be. In
Italy each bag contains five almonds, representing wishes for health,
happiness, fertility, prosperity and longevity.