Where does the tradition of giving and sharing chocolate for Christmas come from ?
A family favorite festive season – Christmas – and a Christmas favorite of chocolates.
From gifts to desserts, stocking fillers to table décor, Christmas logs to advent calendar chocolate is all around the household during the December month.
There are many different forms and symbols of chocolates over the Christmas season here are a few (of the many) we have put together as Valrhona Collection favorites
CHOCOLATE, A SYMBOL OF GRACIOUSNESS
The tradition of exchanging chocolates over festive traditions dates back to over 12 centuries ago, the Aztecs/Mayans believed by these Aztecs that the cocoa beans were sent down to Earth as a gift from their Gods, therefore only those deemed most worthy were able to enjoy this God Given food source.
The Cacao’s nutritional qualities and health benefits made it a very precious commodity to which the Aztecs/Mayans devoted a true cult and which was even used as currency and only reserved for the elite.
Over time the beans became democratized and more accessible to most, it has not lost its titles of “nobility”. Since then, the development and craftsmanship of cocoa into recipes, gifts and indulgent delicacies it is no wonder this is such a hit over Christmas, now we cannot even begin to imagine a December Christmas without hot chocolate and a advent calendar.
THE TRADITION OF THE ADVENT CALENDAR
The history of the Advent calendar dates back to the 5th century, when the clergy ordered a three day fast per week in the period before the coming of Jesus Christ.
The naming of the “advent calendar” is derived from the Latin word "adventus" meaning "coming" giving this time of the year (December) the name Advent.
A children’s favorite activity to the count down to Christmas is for families to give them advent calendars where they are able to open a small window of the calendar. These little windows generally contain a small chocolate but as of today they have evolved and today hide often more than small delicious chocolates, which most kids and adults find difficult to make last until Christmas!
THE STORY OF THE CHRISTMAS LOG
Years ago in the middle ages during the extreme cold and winter periods families would burn logs of wood for warmth, particularly a single log of wood awaiting the better, warmer weather.
Some at the time believed a log that burned out in less than three days was a bad omen.
Overtime heating devices were updated and modernized and the need for burning wood became less and less necessary. However, as "the log" was already engrained in the culture, the log traded its place in the fireplace for a more delicate and decorative place, and the symbolic meaning was maintained.
SAINT NICHOLAS' DAY
Although the tradition has diluted and changed over time, the evening of December 5 to 6 is still marked as “St. Nicholas' Day”, more so in most Eastern European countries and northern France.
During this evening or the following day, Saint Nicholas, seen as the figure of an old bearded and generous man otherwise known as Nicholas of Myre, comes to gift wise and well behaved children with good chocolates and other sweets.
Order your Valrhona chocolate advent calendar and sweet treats today: Discover yours today