By: Kimberly Miller (@kimmillerfit)
Peace-Love-Unity-Respect-if you’ve traded a Kandi bracelet or two the PLUR concept probably isn’t new to you. Kandi is a name used in the festival community to describe bracelets made of plastic beads that are often worn and exchanged at music events. Although a fashion statement, Kandi-trading is done with a much deeper purpose than accessorizing-it is a way for ravers to connect and a way to promote positivity, friendship, and acceptance.
Most commonly, the bracelets are made using 1 row of colorful, plastic beads and spell out a word or phrase. Some choose to spell out positive words like “peace”, “happiness” and “love”. Others will name their favorite festival, DJ or genre of music. One thing I love to do when I make Kandi is to spell out the names of my favorite DJ sets I’ll be seeing at that event and give those specific bracelets out during those sets. This adds a nice little personal touch. Another way to personalize bracelets is to spell out a word that you associate with yourself-and to give this bracelet to someone with this in common. For example, I am a shuffler-so every time I go to a festival I will make a bracelet that spells out “shuffler” or “shape cutter” and give it to someone I meet at the festival and shuffle with. Giving bracelets some level of meaning/personalization is cool because the person who receives it can associate it with a story and with a specific connection they made at the festival.
So, you’ve made your Kandi bracelets and you’re headed to the festival-now what? Well, there is a very specific way to trade these bracelets at festivals-this is where the PLUR handshake comes into play. With each word of the PLUR, phase is a specific hand action that you will do during the handshake. The pictures below show the 4 hand actions you will do before pulling your bracelet over your locked hands and on to the other person’s wrist. With each of these hand actions you say out loud “peace”, “love”, “unity” and “respect”.
Once bracelets have been traded, some people will choose to pass on the love by re-trading the bracelets to someone else; whereas some people keep them for their memories of the events, connections, and friendships. I choose to keep the ones that have significant meaning behind them-the ones from my closest friends-the ones from fellow shufflers-and the ones that make me think of really great moments and bonds. When I see that I am running low on tradeable bracelets I run by the craft store to grab some beads and string and make more to keep the trades going. Some people are perfectly happy having half a dozen bracelets on a single wrist-but the most serious of Kandi traders will have both of their arms decorated from wrist to elbow.
As you can see here, too, Kandi bracelets can be a lot more elaborate than a single row of beads. Multiple-row bracelets have become popular, as well as Perler Kandi bracelets. I’ve found a couple of tutorials online you can check out if you are interested in learning how to make your own.
I can speak from experience that receiving these types of Kandi, especially, warm your heart. It isn’t a secret that these PLUR gestures take a lot of time to be hand-made by fellow ravers-so it’s a great feeling to receive them. On the flip side-it my be an even better feeling to give these works of art out to others you experience a good connection with. Seeing someone light up when you gift one of your most elaborate Kandis is such a cool feeling and adds to the overall festival experience.
Now that you know all there is to know about Kandi-rally up your rave squad and get Kandi-ing!