Candied almonds, which are popular in Portugal during Easter, were used to celebrate weddings in Roman times. Perhaps this Roman custom was inspired by a Greek legend about almonds as a symbol of love. Here’s the story.
Demophon, the king of Athens, visits Thrace where he falls in love with a princess called Phyllis. Demophon sets a day for their wedding and returns to Athens. On the wedding day, Phyllis waits for Demophon at the altar but he fails to arrive. When she dies of heartbreak, the Greek gods take pity and transform her body into an almond tree. Demophon, who had been delayed, arrives in Thrace and learns about the tragic death of his bride. He embraces the almond tree and the branches blossom with beautiful flowers.