Easter: Easter heralds the arrival of the Easter bunny and his delicious bounty of chocolate eggs. Religiously, Easter is celebrated to commemorate the resurrection of Christ on the third day after his crucifixion. The eggs are considered symbolic to the resurrection, where parallels are drawn with the baby chick hatching out of its shell. The egg shell represents the grave he was buried in, and the chick, the form of Christ.
While traditionally hard-boiled chicken eggs were painted and gifted to each other, chocolate has replaced this part of the holiday, and now chocolate eggs are given.
Valentine's Day: Valentine's Day falls on the 14th February of every year to celebrate love between two people. While popular culture focuses on a couple and the love that they share, most people use the day to tell all their loved ones how much they are valued. Chocolates are exchanged to symbolize the love that exists between two people.
A man gives the woman he loves a box of pralines; a child gives her mother chocolate candy, and so on.
Halloween: Trick or treating is an essential part of the celebration on All Hallow's Eve. Children dress up in costumes and knock on their neighbors' doors asking for candy treats. Celebrated on the 31st of October, Halloween was originally a Celtic festival known as Samhain. The Samhain festival was held to mark the end of the harvest season. Samhain held additional significance for the pagans, who believe the distinction between the world of the living and the world of the dead disappeared on that day, making the living world susceptible to the dangers of the other.
Hanukkah: Hanukkah is a Jewish festival held to celebrate the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem by the Maccabees. The festival is held over a period of eight days, and a special candelabrum is lit up with eight candles, marking the significance of the 8 days. Children are gifted chocolate coins on Hanukkah, known as the Hanukkah gelt. The tradition calls for oil and therefore most of the recipes use a great deal of it. Chocolate based delights are made so that they can be fried in oil.
Mexico's Day of the Dead: This festival is celebrated as a remembrance to all the departed members of the family. It is a predominantly Mexican fete, although parallels can be drawn to All Soul's Day. Chocolate and sweets form an important aspect of the festival, where people gift each other skulls made of chocolate or sugar.
Paul Symonds writes about Chocolate and Cioccolata and Chocolate Holidays
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