Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Easters, a chocolate festival

Chocolate eggs and bunnies aside, the Easter story is the most significant event that defines Christianity.

Pop culture images that come to mind are Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, a mural painted in Milan in the 15th century according to the Gospel of John 13:21, where Jesus predicted during supper that Judas Iscariot would sell him out.

And most recently, in 2004, Mel Gibson made a contribution to Easter lore with his controversial movie, The Passion of the Christ, due to the interpretation in which Jesus’ torture, crucifixion and resurrection are violently depicted.

And while Christians observe Easter with great reverence, many getting baptised, the traditions of the season, such as eggs, which some say represent new life, and the re-emergence of Christ as he resurrected, have sent many confectionaries laughing all the way to the bank, to this day.

Easter only has Valentine’s Day as a rival in the most chocolates eaten every year. The chocolate eggs and bunnies that are popular with the children actually refer to an assumed fertility ritual that precedes Christianity and took place in spring.

What earns the rabbit a reputation, as a fertility symbol, is its procreating advantage. The basket toting rabbit has also taken on a role similar to Father Christmas, by lore that it rewards well behaved children with Easter eggs that it lays in nests that children prepare in this period.

The eggs themselves, according to History.com are decorated to mark the end of fasting during Lenten, which is a period of fasting and penance leading to Easter observed by some Christians. The eggs are then eaten at the end of Lent.

And chocolate eggs date as far back as the 19th century and have become part of the Easter activities in Easter eggs hunts.

Speaking to Sunday Standard as she prepared an Easter basket order, Mokashane Nxumalo, a chocolatier and managing director of Huguenot Fine Chocolates Botswana, which is based in Molapo Crossing Shopping Mall, says this year regular sales for chocolate have been good but Easter did not peak sales, “perhaps it’s the credit crunch, or the fact that people travel away from Gaborone during the Easters holidays”.

“Last year we got a lot of orders. This year, however, we had very few.”

Despite this, Huguenot will sponsor a fun day of Easter egg hunting at Phakalane Golf Estates for disadvantaged children through Red Cross on Saturday.

“Phakalane are sponsoring us with the golf estates for a venue for the children where they will search for chocolate treats that we have made,” said Nxumalo.

And it is back to business on Sunday for Huguenot, “because Sunday is a day for family luncheons and Easter egg hunts; we will be open for sales”, Nxumalo said.

Chocolate rabbits and eggs in various sizes, from bite-sized eggs for P5 to thick walled Ostrich sized eggs for P86 are on offer.

“We also have Faberge eggs, which are decorated eggs shaped metal casing filled with chocolate,” said Nxumalo.


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