Chocolate candies on counter.
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Decadent Chocolate Traditions From Around the World

It’s hard not to do a double-take when someone says they don’t like chocolate.

This heavenly ingredient is one of the most universal foods, and almost every nation enjoys it in its own way. From heartfelt gifts to cheeky Valentine’s Day exchanges to symbols of progress, pieces of chocolate are more culturally significant than people realize.

Learn more about how different cultures embrace chocolate in their traditions.

Mayan Cacao Ceremonies in Mexico

Mayan cacao ceremony.
Image Credit: Peter Maerky and Shutterstock.

Mayans have one of the longest relationships with chocolate. They used it in religious ceremonies and considered it a godly nectar. It’s even an important part of the Mexican holiday, The Day of the Dead, as it helps spirits move through death.

Cacao bits or hot chocolate, which we can thank Mexico for, are often consumed in groups as part of spiritual rituals. For various Mexican cultures, chocolate is far more than an indulgent dessert. It’s an integral part of their culture and beliefs.

Easter Eggs in Italy

Chocolate eggs in a bowl on a table.
Image Credit: Nelli Kovalchuk and Shutterstock.

We enjoy chocolate Easter eggs here in the US, too, but Italians take these sweet eggs to a new level. They’re sort of obsessed with chocolate eggs around the holiday, and we’re right there with them.

Chocolatiers create elaborate and intricate chocolate eggs each year, trying to outdo themselves and their competition. People hide little things inside the eggs, like more chocolate, tiny toys, coins, and other candy. Some people even hide engagement rings and use the eggs to propose!

Sacred Rituals in West Africa

Grounded Cocoa in a small clay pot.
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Similar to Mayan civilizations, many West African cultures use chocolate in spiritual rituals, so it’s much more than a sweet treat. In fact, they usually don’t add any sugar or other ingredients to their chocolate concoctions.

They ground up the cacao and create a bitter drink, specifically for weddings and funerals. This tradition remains common in many West African nations and is very different from how most cultures enjoy chocolate — loaded with sugar.

Diwali Gifts in India

A woman preparing for Diwali Celebration.
Image Credit: Photo by Rahul Pandit and Unsplash.

In India, Diwali is the festival of lights. Chocolate has become a traditional gift that family and friends exchange during the celebration. The decadent and sweet chocolate represents happiness, bliss, and wellness.

We admire this tradition, as it speaks to the power chocolate can have. It’s not just food; it can symbolize kindness, devotion, and love. It’s something we share to uplift others.

Salon du Chocolat in France

Nougat at Chocolate Exhibition Salon du Chocolat.
Image Credit: Adellyne and Shuttershot.

For over a quarter of a decade, Paris has hosted Salon du Chocolat. This is a world-famous chocolate show featuring hundreds of exhibits and businesses. Chocolatiers, patissiers, confectioners, cocoa-producing ambassadors, and more chocolate aficionados showcase their flavors, creations, and knowledge all in one location.

There are also chocolate tastings, informative lectures, technique presentations, and more. There’s even a chocolate fashion show! Many consider it the ultimate chocolate event, and it’s a testament to France’s appreciation for chocolate.

Valentine’s Day and White Day in Japan

Mother and daughter making White Day Chocolate.
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While Valentine’s Day is most popular in America, many Japanese people adopted the holiday in the last few decades. However, they put their own spin on it, possibly emphasizing chocolate even more than Americans.

On Valentine’s Day (February 14th) women gift pieces of chocolate to the men in their lives, even platonic relationships. A month later comes White Day (March 14th), when men return the favor, giving chocolate to any woman who gave them chocolate!

Hershey’s Kisses in Pennsylvania

Hershey’s Kisses in a red bowl.
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Pennsylvania is where Milton Hershey began and perfected his chocolate company. Today, Hershey’s Kisses are a super popular chocolate treat, but the town of Hershey, Pennsylvania, embraces the Kisses more than anyone.

People commonly give them out to anyone and everyone on Valentine’s Day, and they also seem to be a staple food in the area every day of the year. The world knows about Hershey’s Kisses, but the tradition is strongest in Pennsylvania.

Lördagsgodis in Sweden

Various loose types of gummy bears and confectionery at a Swedish Store.
Image Credit: Janet Worg and Shutterstock.

Lördagsgodis, or Saturday candy, is a charming Swedish tradition with a strange history. A mental institution used patients to study the effects of frequent chocolate consumption, proving too much can be harmful. The study was highly abusive and immoral, essentially force-feeding patients involuntarily.

However, the study led to the lördagsgodis tradition, where Swedish people only eat sweets on Saturdays. The origins of lördagsgodis are unpleasant, but it’s become a playful weekly tradition.

Chocolate Fish in New Zealand

Chocolate figures in the shape of a fish on a tray.
Image Credit: Marina Tolosa and Shutterstock.

Like most places, New Zealanders love chocolate and eat a fair amount. They have a quirky and cute chocolate tradition involving little fish. They’re not real fish — they’re made of chocolate, of course! People specifically give out this fish to reward someone for a job well done.

Employers often give hard-working employees a chocolate fish, or parents might give one to their child after they aced a test. People don’t buy these for themselves, making them a special treat that must be “earned.”

Sweetness Week in Argentina

A couple about to share a heart chocolate cookie.
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Argentina began celebrating a week of sweetness devoted to chocolate in the 1980s, and the tradition continues to be a beloved event. It takes place at the beginning of July, and the theme is basically “chocolate kisses,” but not Hershey’s Kisses — literal kisses.

People give one another chocolate treats, a kiss on the cheek, and well wishes to celebrate. The week is more than an excuse to eat chocolate; it’s a way for them to express their appreciation for all things sweet and romantic.

Chocolate for Breakfast in England

Chocolate cake shaped like a Christmas tree on a black plate.
Image Credit: Liliya Kandrashevich and Shutterstock.

Like so many other nations, England embraces chocolate the most on holidays. Of course, those who celebrate eat it on Valentine’s Day and Easter. However, Christmas is probably the biggest chocolate day in England.

A somewhat naughty tradition many adopted is to have chocolate for breakfast on Christmas Day, and sometimes also on Christmas Eve morning and for Boxing Day breakfast. Chocolate cake for breakfast isn’t the healthiest, but hey, it’s Christmas!

Chocolate Letters in the Netherlands

De zak van Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas' bag) filled with chocolate letters and gifts.
Image Credit: Ingmarsan and Shutterstock.

Dutch people aren’t as notorious for having chocolate for breakfast, but they do have a charming chocolate tradition for Christmas time. Sinterklaas is a Dutch celebration that takes place early in December, and Dutch people traditionally exchange chocolate letters with loved ones.

No, these aren’t thoughtful notes written in hot fudge. They’re the receiver’s initials in the shape of chocolate! It’s endearing and meaningful, as people must go out of their way to find the correct letters.

Brigadeiros in Brazil

Little boy licking a spoon with Brigadeiro.
Image Credit: Ricardo Alves 1975 and Shutterstock.

A brigadeiro is a traditional Brazilian treat similar to truffles but with a harder shell. Its origins are interesting, as women created the brigadeiro to raise funds for a political campaign. It was the first election in which women could vote, so these little chocolates represent feminism, progress, hope, and much more.

While this political association has faded, the small truffles continue to offer Brazilians a sense of joy and nostalgia. They’re most common at weddings and birthdays, taking on a positive and celebratory connotation.

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Happy smiling mature couple cooking meal together.
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Here’s the deal: no one becomes Gordon Ramsey overnight. I mean, even Gordon Ramsey didn’t become Gordon Ramsey overnight.

It takes time to master the art of cooking, and there’s no better time to start than now.

I used to joke that I wasn’t a good cook and felt sorry for the man I would marry one day. But I’ve since learned that it’s really the little things that make someone a good cook, and here’s the secret–anyone can do it. Here are 14 simple and easy tips to elevate your kitchen game.

14 Simple Ways Anyone Can Elevate Their Cooking Skills

Why Can’t I Keep My House Clean? Understanding the Root Causes of Clutter

frustrated woman with cleaning.
Image Credit: Peopleimages and iStock

Look around. Is your place a mess, again? Why does this keep happening? It’s not just about being lazy or busy; it’s deeper than that. You’ve got emotional baggage crammed in every drawer and decision fatigue draped over every chair.

This isn’t just about cleaning up. It’s about understanding and digging up the roots of your clutter. Here are 13 reasons your home looks like a before photo, even on its best days.

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