By day, this octopus is a pale ghost, hanging quietly around your neck, glossed to be protected from the elements and appear wet, freshly pulled from the depths. By night however, this octopus wakes to radiate a bright, luminescent turquoise glow with muted black tentacle tips.
One of the most beloved traditions of PLUR is kandi trading. For those who are new to the scene, kandi is the plastic jewelry (made from pony beads) you see people wearing at rave. It is generally made in bracelet, cuff, mask, or necklace form. While some may think it looks cool and others may think it looks dumb, in the end kandi carries a profound meaning for those who wear it. Why? Because each trade is special. The tradition goes like this: the raver makes kandi at home, often with heartfelt messages, cool patterns, or with something having to do with the event they are about to attend. At the rave, when two kandi bearers see each other they may approach each other and ask to trade. What follows is a special handshake where symbols of peace, love, unity, and respect are expressed through each gesture. Finally, in a mutual show of love and respect, they slide the kandi bracelets over each others’ wrists, thus completing the trade. If you’re feeling a bit extra friendly, you may choose to give a hug to the person you just traded with.
Kandi trading is possibly my favorite part of rave culture and PLUR. Each kandi I receive is a piece of the raver who gave it to me; a memory of the show I had gone to.