One thing that makes rave culture so inviting is the fact that all ravers are unique and special in their own beautiful way. The rave community welcomes everyone with open arms and accepts everyone for who they are. No matter your sex, race, age, or ethnicity, we come together and celebrate our individuality and oneness at the same time, listening and dancing to music together. You may see some of us doing this while wearing Kandi. What is Kandi? It is in our scene a creative form of expression.
We express ourselves through sound, movement, and style, without the fear of being judged or criticized. One way many ravers choose to express themselves is with rave accessories known as kandi which has been a popular tradition within the electronic dance music scene for over 30 years.
Table of Contents:
- What is Kandi?
- Kandi in The Rave Community
- PLUR Handshake & Trading Kandi
- How To Make Kandi
What is Kandi?
If you’ve been to a rave or festival, you probably have seen some ravers decked out in colorful beaded bracelets, necklaces, and accessories. These colorful accessories are called kandi and they are very popular within the scene.
These are handmade bracelets made of colorful plastic beads that oftentimes include letter beads that read funny, cute or kind messages. What makes each bracelet so special is the fact that they are uniquely customized to the individual.
Kandi in The Rave Community
Making kandi is a creative outlet for many ravers and people have become far more creative with their designs over the years. Ravers can design these bracelets as necklaces, bracelets, masks, headbands, and even clothing! Ravers make these colorful accessories with the intent to give them away or trade them with others as a sign of PLUR culture (Peace, Love, Unity, Respect). It is a way ravers choose to connect with others and spread loving-kindness. What makes these accessories even more special is the PLUR handshake used to trade kandi with other ravers. It creates a beautiful and meaningful memory that each raver will hold onto and cherish.
PLUR Handshake & Trading Kandi
When you make a special connection with someone, you can spread PLUR vibes by trading. Whether it be someone you’re dancing next to all night or someone you met on line waiting for the bathroom, you’ll know when it is time to trade! Which you choose to trade resemble these special moments and they are something you can hold onto for years to come.
Many ravers will like to use the PLUR handshake before trading each time. Each letter in the PLUR acronym has a specific hand movement to accompany.
- Peace – you and a partner each make a peace sign with your fingers and touch them together.
- Love – each person makes a half heart with their hand, and connects together to make a whole heart.
- Unity – both palms press together with fingers wrapped around each other to hold hands.
- Respect – interlock all fingers together.
- Now that both hands are holding eachother you both trade! Each person takes a turn to take a bracelet from their own wrist and pass it over the joined hands onto the other person’s wrist.
One general rule of thumb- most traders keep the kandi they are willing to trade on their right arm and their “untradeable” bracelets on their left arm. Some ravers may keep special kandi that hold meaning to them on their left arm so people know it is off-limits. Some ravers may let you choose whichever you want – and some may give you a specific piece. And of course, you don’t have to trade if you don’t want to! Many ravers love to give theirs to others to help lift their spirit and spread good vibes.
How Do You Make Kandi?
Making kandi makes each piece meaningful, special, and unique. Depending on what piece of kandi you’re attempting to make, it can be fairly simple. Making kandi requires only a few supplies.
To make kandi, you will need:
- Pony beads or any bead of your choice
- String (elastic, stretchy kind is preferred!)
The easiest type of kandi to make are bracelets which are the most common accessory to trade, too! You can personalize your kandi using letter beads to spell out words, names, phrases, and you can even add charms or unique beads! Common ideas for phrases for your beads include DJ names, songs, or the name of the festival or event you’re at. The most important part about making them is to have fun with it! Be creative and be yourself.
Kandi has many meanings to each individual. Whether it be a form of self-expression, style, a creative outlet, or a way to connect with people, it has been and still is an important part of the rave culture. Kandi spreads PLUR energy throughout the electronic dance music scene; it brings peace, shares love, creates unity, and shows respect. The rave community is all about good vibes and being yourself – and kandi is a great way to share that with others. Head to our blog to learn more about Music Festivals For Beginners or Earplugs For Music to protect your ears.
Juliet Norelli has been a part of the rave community for 10 years. She shares her knowledge through writing to give helpful tips and advice to all ravers.