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Confetti are small pieces or streamers of paper, mylar, or metallic material which are usually thrown at celebrations, especially parades and weddings. The origins are from the Latin confectum, with confetti the plural of Italian confetto, small sweet. Modern paper confetti trace 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 are manufactured in multiple colors, and commercially available confetti come in many different 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 are also shiny. While they are called metallic confetti they are actually metallized PVC. The most popular shape is the star. Seasonally, Snowflake Confetti are the most requested shape. Most party supply stores carry paper and metallic confetti. Confetti are commonly used at social gatherings such as parties, weddings, and Bar Mitzvahs. The simplest confetti are simply shredded paper (see ticker-tape parade), and can be made with scissors or a paper shredder. Other confetti often consist 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. Most pieces of paper flats will flutter as tumblewings giving flight times because of gliding aerodynamics.
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 20 mm × 60 mm) 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.