Sunday, April 4, 2010


I realize that I did not post last week. There really is no excuse, but in my slight defense it was Passover and I was crazy busy with that. So, I am going to try and catch up by doing two blogs this week. Whether that will actually happen or not is the true question, one which time and my motivation levels later this week will determine. But for now, it is a good goal; one I have every intension on fulfilling.

With that being said I would like to say both Happy Passover and Happy Easter for this week. There is an interesting situation in my house because my mom is Jewish and my dad is Catholic (made easier since we are not religious). I try to give both an equal weight, and participated in Lent, and also attempted to give up bread for the week for Passover.

This being said, today is Easter and I’m munching on a chocolate bunny which I got for my Easter basket. This made me wonder how a chocolate rabbit became synonymous for Easter, and even more broadly what the history is of chocolate. It has long been revered as one of the greatest pleasures in life. Perhaps I hold this opinion because I am a girl and we live off the stuff. Regardless, I think I’ll turn my attention to chocolate for my first blog this week.

Chocolate originated in the Amazon about 4,000 years ago. The Aztec took the beans from the trees to process into a drink called “xocoatl” or “chocoati.” This basically means foam water, and the chocolate was consumed only in the liquid form, which was usually highly spiced. The Aztecs believed chocolate was consumed by the Gods and the cocoa seed was brought to earth as a blessing from the God of Air.

Once the Spanish visited (or rather invaded) the area they carried these seeds back to Spain to expand the use from only a drink to a more solid form. Chocolate remained a secret in Spain for the next hundred years; only monks were allowed to process the beans into chocolate in hopes of keeping the process a secret. With the decline of Spain’s power the secret leaked out to other European nations.

A fun fact to store away for later: apparently the Quakers participated in making chocolate, in hopes the poor would give up drinking alcohol for a healthier drink made of chocolate. One famous Quaker was Milton Hershey who later became one of the most important chocolate manufacturers.

But how did chocolate take the form of a rabbit for Easter? Rabbits have been considered the symbol of fertility because of how prolific they are in the reproductive area. In fact, the name Easter derived from the Goddess of Fertility, Eostre. Thus, the association of fertility is important to the holiday because it marks the beginning of spring, and this has translated to candy in the shape of rabbits.

The synchronism of many old pagan holidays and ideas is beneath the surface of many holidays, and Easter is simply one example.

So, that is a brief history of chocolate, and the chocolate rabbit for Easter. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday (which ever you celebrate) and as always happy history!

I welcome comments, so if you have suggestions post them below!

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