A stranger offered me kandi and I said yes.

Bracelets, necklaces, headbands, cuffs, sometimes even rings, made from Pony beads, other colorful beads, small plush animals, trinkets, charms, and more. They can have words spelled out [generally PLUR] or pictures made by bead patterns. They are given out or traded at raves and are a great way to make friends and create memories. Behind each piece of kandi is a story.

In the exchange of kandi a handshake is generally performed. The gestures symbolize the units of PLUR- Peace, Love, Unity, Respect.
Peace – both people make a peace sign and touch their finger tips.
Love – both people form a connected heart.
Unity – the touching of open palms.
Respect – the clasping of upright hands.
The kandi bracelets are then passed over the clasped hands, without breaking contact. In addition, PLUR generally dictates that the two hug afterwards.

A photo of two people performing the PLUR handshake.

So when do you trade kandi?

There really is no set time or place to trade kandi, it can be done anywhere. Generally, I give away my kandi to someone I was talking with or dancing with for a while, or someone who does me a favor, such as buying me a drink or taking a picture of my friends. It is also usually considered polite by PLUR to give someone a piece of kandi if they give you one.
The one thing deemed unacceptable by PLUR is to walk up to someone and ask for a piece of kandi. Those who run over to you yelling “GIVE ME KANDI!!!” are generally frowned upon.
It is also considered unacceptable to give away a piece that was gifted to you. Each piece of kandi has a memory and a friendship tied to it, so by giving it away it is as if you are severing that friendship.

Me showing off my kandi. Some people have so much that their entire arms are filled, but since I am new to the scene I only have a few pieces so far.

My personal biggest pet peeve is when I try to give away kandi and someone refuses to accept it. Example: I was at a rave and a girl was telling me how much she loved my kandi necklace, so I took it off and told her to take it. She refused and said it was mine. I kept insisting I didn’t mind and I wanted my new friend to have it, but she wouldn’t take it. I felt it went against the principles of PLUR and was almost like rejecting my friendship. If someone offers you kandi, take it!

Here are a few of my traded  pieces and the stories behind how I got them…

 and came to work that weekend with this for me. He taught me the PLUR handshake and gifted me this. Although he never ended up taking me to a rave, he’ll always be the one to turn me on to them.””]My first piece of Kandi. My First Piece

My first piece gifted to me at a rave.

I had made friends with a guy at a rave and we were hanging for a while. He bought me a few drinks and it was clear we were going to become good friends. I didn't see any kandi on his arm, so I gave him one of the piece I made. He then rolled up his sleeves to reveal a few pieces and he traded me this.

This is here to show that sometimes kandi isn't even jewelry. This was given to me by two guys who were handing out hearts to all the girls they thought were pretty. I thought it was a really sweet way to start up a conversation and I plan on making it into a piece of kandi soon.

My favorite piece of kandi.

This is my favorite piece of kandi, which represents two of the four principles of PLUR- unity and love. My friend Ida and I were in the bathroom at a rave when we met three girls, all with armfuls of kandi, and they asked us to take a picture of them. Obviously, we obliged, and had them take one of us. One of the girls then said she'd like to give us some kandi and told us she had two with a matched set- one saying "Unity and Love" and the other with "Peace and Respect." She said since Ida and I were best friends she'd like to give us each half of the set. This piece is meaningful because it represents my new friendships with the rave community, and my friendship with Ida. To thank her, I gave the girl one of mine that said "Y NOT."


Kandi symbolizes the friendship and the unity that the rave culture brings. It is a great way to break the ice when making a new friend and it is a great way to create memories. Making kandi is also a lot of fun, it’s hard for me to see little trinkets now without wondering if it could be added to kandi. If ever you’re going to a rave, bring along a few homemade pieces of kandi. You wont regret it!



About Emilie

A new NYC raver just getting into the scene.
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2 Responses to A stranger offered me kandi and I said yes.

  1. MichaelM says:

    I’m not too much into the kandi scene, but I did get one from this girl who I gave water to at Together as One. Maybe I’ll just trade that one every time I’m at a rave so that I can have one to record each rave I’ve been to.

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