Time to think about a favorite holiday involving chocolate:
I was in a taxi recently, texting and tapping on my phone on my way to one of the participating stores on our tours, and the taxi driver suddenly asked me: What is the origin of Halloween?
He asked the right person - smile!
I told him that what today is a candy-filled costume extravaganza for children and adults started thousands of years ago as a pagan Celtic observance in England.
As the harvest closed and the days grew shorter, the Celts believed that good and evil spirits wandered during the long nights. They put out food on October 31, seen as the last day of summer and of the year, in the belief that this would appease the spirits and keep evil ones from harming them. "Hallows Eve" was a sort of festival of the dead, and people wore masks and costumes to disguise themselves as spirits, and put candles in the windows to honor the dead.
When Christianity came to England, the Church took this pagan festival in the 800s and tied it to All Saint's Day, which is November 1. The Church convinced people to give food to the poor on Halloween instead of putting it outside their houses. Beggars went from house to house for "soul cakes," and this was the precursor to trick-or-treating.
When the English first came to America, they brought Halloween, and as Irish and English continued to come to the US in the second half of the 19th century, Americans converted the practices of Halloween to a secular holiday again. Halloween became more about family and community, and the first trick-or-treating chocolate-hungry children are believed to have cavorted in the 1920s. By the 1950s, trick-or-treating was in full swing, and today Halloween is a national party of kids and costumes, parties for all, and candy and chocolate galore.
And what's everyone's favorite candy? Chocolate, of course!
Your friend in chocolate,