Confetti is small pieces or streamers of paper, mylar, or metallic material which are usually thrown at parades and celebrations, especially weddings (and game shows, following the end of a milestone or the occasion of a big win).
The origins are from the Latin confectum, with confetti the plural of Italian confetto, small sweet. Modern paper confetti traces back to symbolic rituals of tossing grains and sweets during special occasions, traditional for numerous cultures throughout history as an ancient custom dating back to pagan times, but adapted from sweets and grains to paper through the centuries.
Confetti is made in a variety of colors, and commercially available confetti is available in imaginative shapes. A distinction is made between confetti and glitter; glitter is smaller than confetti (pieces usually no larger than 1mm) and is universally shiny. Most table confetti is also shiny. While it is called metallic confetti it is actually metallized PVC The most popular shape is the star. Seasonally, Snowflake Confetti is the most requested shape. Most party supply stores carry paper and metallic confetti. Confetti is commonly used at social gatherings such as parties, weddings, and Bar Mitzvahs, but is considered taboo at funerals. The simplest confetti is simply shredded paper (see ticker-tape parade), and can be made with scissors or a paper shredder. Other confetti often consists of chads punched out of scrap paper. A hole punch can be used to make small round chads. For more elaborate chads, a ticket punch can be used.
In recent years the use of confetti as a cosmetic addition to trophy presentations at sporting events has become increasingly common. In this case, larger strips of paper (typically measuring 20mm x 60mm) in the colors appropriate to the team or celebration are used. For smaller volumes of confetti, ABS or PVC “barrels” are filled and the confetti is projected via a “cannon” (a small pressure vessel) using compressed air or carbon dioxide. For larger venues or volumes of confetti, a venturi air mover powered by carbon dioxide is used to propel significantly larger volumes of confetti greater distances.