Nobody can say exactly when National Jelly Bean Day started or why.
It may have begun with candy manufacturers, or avid fans who just wanted to share their affection for the irresistible treat.
No matter what the origins of National Jelly Bean Day, every April 22nd (otherwise known as Earth Day) millions of jelly bean fans coast to coast celebrate the candy that's not just for Easter anymore.
This year, National Jelly Bean Day falls on Thursday, April 21, 2021.
All about jelly beans
The jelly bean dates back to at least the 1860's -- when jars of the tasty treats were promoted as morale boosters for army troops fighting in the Civil War.
While egg-shaped jelly beans seem like a natural for Easter basket fillers, it wasn't until the 1930's when jelly beans became a permanent part of the Easter tradition.
Jelly beans were always traditionally made from sugar and artificial flavors, but in the 1980's a revolution in jelly bean varieties exploded with the introduction of "Jelly Belly" jelly beans. Made with real fruit juices -- and in flavors such as tangerine, green apple, and very cherry -- Jelly Belly soon became one of the most popular jelly beans in the nation.
Even President Ronald Reagan was known for his love of Jelly Belly jelly beans, as he always kept a jar of the sweet treats on his desk in the Oval Office (his favorite flavor was licorice.) Reagan later became responsible for launching the very first jelly beans into space when he sent a jar to the 1983 Challenger crew as a surprise.
Today, jelly beans are more popular than ever and are produced at a mind-boggling 16 billion a year.
Still the most popular color of jelly bean among American kids? Red!
Fun with jelly beans
• Make a decorative table centerpiece made from individual glass jars filled with colorful jellybeans. Later, the jars can act as festive party favors for guests to bring home.
• In spring, make a fun Easter basket stuffer with jelly bean "carrots" made from stiff cellophane filled with orange jelly beans (see complete instructions for making your own Easter basket edible craft project.)
• Incorporate jelly beans into craft activities for kids (see above) or in educational lessons such as counting games or jelly bean-flavored word jumbles that will really hold their interest.
• Play the classic "how many jelly beans are in the jar?" game by filling up a big jar of jelly beans and have friends or co-workers guess the correct number. Whoever comes closest to the answer wins a prize.