origins | carol wi lson Wedding Cake A Slice of History Since antiquity, weddings customarily have been celebrated with a special cake. Ancient Roman wedding ceremonies were ï¬nalized by breaking a cake of wheat or barley (mustaceum) over the brideâs head as a symbol of good fortune. The newly married couple then ate a few crumbs in a custom known as confarreatioâeating together. Afterwards, the wedding guests gathered up the crumbs as tokens of good luck. The Roman poet and philosopher Lucretius, in De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things),1 wrote that the breaking of the cake over the brideâs head mellowed into crumbling the sweet wheat cakes over her head. After all the cakes were used up, the guests were supplied with handfuls of confetto, a sweet mixture of nuts, dried fruit, and honeyed almonds. These sweetmeats were an important part of the wedding banquet and continued to be so for hundreds of years. Chronicles of the period record that in 1487 over two hundred and sixty pounds of âconfettiâ were consumed at the banquet following the wedding of Lucrezia Borgia and Alfonso dâEste, son of Ercole i, Duke of Ferrara. Sweetmeats were showered over the
Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture – University of California Press
Published: Apr 1, 2005
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