It’s Carnival, and the streets are littered with … what?
Confetti, in Italian, are the sugared almonds given to guests, traditionally at a wedding, when the sugar coating is white, and now extended to pink or blue at a baptism and red at a university graduation. “A quando i confetti” is apparently a cute way of asking when one is going to get married. Given that they are rather hard, one understandably does not throw confetti at a wedding. One throws rice.
And then it gets tricky. Because Italians do throw little bits of coloured paper, but during Carnival and New Year’s, rather than at newlyweds.
I guess that confetti derives somehow or another from confezione, a package (of sugared almonds) or confection. Trying to find the meaning of coriander, though, is more difficult. Neither of my two little reference books has it, and I don’t have a copy of Stearn’s Botanical Latin. Most places just say it is derived from some ancient version of the word coriander. Eventually, I found the botanary, at Dave’s Garden, which says that it is: “From the Greek koris, a bug or gnat; referring to its aroma”. That’s better, although the logical positivist in me would love to know which bug or gnat, so I could try a sniff test.
Why are coriandoli so called? Were coriander seeds ever thrown during celebrations?
How did Italian almond confetti get transformed into English paper confetti?
Over to you, internets.