Christmas Traditions That Celebrates Chocolates

Christmas Traditions That Celebrates Chocolates December 3, 2021

Dazzling fairy lights, nostalgic carol songs and the pile of presents that sit under a decorated pine tree - Christmas season heralds the inevitable tradition of simple merriment, family get-togethers and bouts of feasting. This holiday marks a period of indulgence and gratification, short-lived as it might be.

Beyond just being a holiday full of festive cheer, the Christmas season is also a cherished moment of the year for gourmets, particularly chocolates. From the foot of the Christmas tree to the table, whether it’d be in the form of a pastry log or a tiny treat hidden in an Advent calendar, chocolate is always welcomed to delight and charm the taste buds during this merry period. There are a myriad of Christmas customs that revolve around this decadent treat, so here are a few of them.


Understanding the History and Origins

It’s not a widely known fact that Christmas festivities are actually rooted in pagan beliefs and transmissions. Before it was tied to the birth of Jesus Christ, 25th December was the celebration date of the rebirth of Sol Invictus and Roman Saturnalia, wherein the seasonal cycle is set to restart, to once again usher in the sun and future crops. These celebrations would last for days, and it would feature individuals wearing wreaths around their necks and giving each other gifts. Since it was tied to seasons and agriculture, this day naturally bears the symbolism of fertility, reproduction, and motherhood.

It wasn’t until the fourth century that these pagan festivities were officially incorporated into the set of Christian traditions, eventually becoming the commemorative date of the birth of Jesus Christ. Christian missionaries ran into people living by various local and regional religious creeds, and picked out a few of these traditions to celebrate the birth of their saviour. Whilst it’s true that the Christmas tree is a German invention that dates back to the 17th century, this iconic fixture is derived from the pagan practice of bringing greenery indoors to decorate during winter. Even the modern Santa Claus is a modern incarnation of old pagan ideas about spirits who travelled the sky in midwinter.

The incorporation of chocolates was later introduced, and it manifested into different kinds. Let’s take a deeper dive into two of such popular traditions!


Advent Calendar

The history of the Advent calendar dates back to the 5th century. It was during the period when the clergy had made fasting mandatory. Devotees were obligated to fast for three days per week in the period before the coming of Jesus Christ. The Latin “adventus” meant “coming,” which eventually became the official name of this period of the year.

Throughout history, Advent has become synonymous with the imminent arrival of Christmas. To keep children preoccupied during these 24 days of fasting, Protestant families would give them a triptych, which are three carved panels hinged together. Children would open these small windows to take a peek at the religious image that sits behind the panels. Parents would also offer them a bitesize fact of the religious image or the related saints.

This concept was later adapted and evolved to become what we know and love: advent calendars!


Yule Log

In the Middle Ages, the winter solstice heralded the arrival of the harshest season of the year. To prepare for this challenging period, households would light up the fireplace with a single log of wood. They would leave the log in the hearth for as long as possible to last their reserves until the return of good weather. According to Catholic beliefs of that time, a log that did not last three days was a bad omen.

As industrialization and technology set in, the burning of logs was no longer required and naturally phased out. However, “the log” was already rooted in the culture. As such, it became a symbolic, decorative element rather than serving a functional purpose.

When chocolates reached Europe by way of trade, they slowly gained traction among the masses. Its popularity boomed when the Europeans tweaked the Aztec recipe to suit their tastes, and became a favoured sweet treat. Some time later, it was shaped to imitate the bark of the wood, which ushered the birth of the Christmas log.


Celebrate Your Christmas with Laurent Bernard

Celebrate your Christmas in true chocolate fashion with Laurent Bernard Chocolatier! Spread the joys of this festive month with our Christmas 2021 catalogue, which features our Snowball Advent Calendar, a selection of yule logs, and even a Reindeer Tree made entirely of chocolates. Usher in Christmas with our artisan chocolates today!

Place your order online and we will deliver these chocolates for you.