Thursday, March 14, 2013

Chocolate As A Religious Experience

NOTE: We received a candy basket from Hershey's as an inducement to write about chocolate. (As if we need an inducement!)

All thoughts about chocolate, Hershey's, and Christian or Jewish Holidays are entirely our own.
We recently received an Easter basket from Hershey's.  My wife had met them last year at the Blissdom conference, and at that time they very graciously agreed to send us a basket full of candy. And this year we were on their list again!

They didn't have a Purim basket, but it's hard to say no to free chocolate.

As you may have guessed (if you didn't already know), we are Jewish. We are not very religious, and don't keep kosher, but we're quite proud of our heritage and we're Jewishly active in our own way, and one of those ways is to celebrate the difference between us and the other prevalent religions and cultures. (I'm not sure if this is centered in Jewish philosophy or if this is my own idea, but I have a memory of talking with a rabbi about how Judaism in general celebrates by being different. What has made Judaism continue onward is that we make ourselves different - through circumcision, through putting on t'fillin, wearing yarmulkes, through eating different foods, through prayer, etc. We Jews bond together in our difference, and as such are able to continue through lots of adversity.  )

Hoo boy, I didn't really mean for this to turn into a rant on religion.

Anyway, an interesting thing about Judaism is that a lot of our religious activities center around food.  We eat latkes (potato pancakes) and chocolate gelt (little chocolate coins) at Chanukkah. We eat matzah, even chocolate matzah, at Passover. During Purim it's the triangle shaped Hamentaschen pastries with either poppyseed or raspberry or chocolate inside. (Hmmm... do I detect a trend?)

We don't observe Easter, or St. Patrick's Day, or Christmas, or any of a number of other holidays that 90% of the American population does celebrate. But we do eat chocolate, which makes Easter one of our favorite secular holidays to celebrate! (And in that, I celebrate the unity of two fine religions!)

Our "Holiday" basket from Hershey's contained Twizzlers, Reese's Mini Reester Bunnies, Cadbury Creme mini eggs (these were very cleverly packaged in a 12-pack mini egg carton), Hershey's pink and green chocolate Kisses, and candy-coated chocolate Cadbury Mini Eggs.  If we were hosting an egg hunt, this would be great stuff to create a maze with. (Wait, it's not a maze, is it?  It's more like a chocolate puzzle, or maybe a trail of eggs, know, I really don't know what the tradition is. I know that there are chocolate eggs and there is hiding involved. But other than that, I'm a little fuzzy on the actual details of egg hunts.)

Anyway, we're not going to do that. So the question is, what are we going to do with all of this sweet candy?

I have a few ideas....

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