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NATIONAL CHOCOLATE CANDY DAY / NATIONAL CARD PLAYING DAY
NATIONAL CHOCOLATE CANDY DAY
National Chocolate Candy Day offers an opportunity for us to polish off the last of the specialty candies we received as gifts. Celebrated on December 28th, the day points us to the truffles and chocolate oranges tucked into stockings. Check those boxes of candy that may or may not have guides to help us choose cream-filled or ganache.
The word “chocolate” comes from the word “xocoatl” or “chocolatl.” Mayan “school” means hot or bitter, and the Aztec “atl” means water. Chocolate comes from the seed of the tropical Theobroma cacao tree. Cacao has been cultivated for at least three millennia and grows in Mexico, Central America, and Northern South America. The earliest known documentation of using cacao seeds is from around 1100 BC.
But before it was ever made into a sweet candy, it was ground into a beverage. In the ruling class society, the beverage was used for medical purposes.
In 1828, Dutch inventor and chemist, Coenraad Van Houten, developed a way to produce chocolate in solid form. His hydraulic press made it possible to remove the cocoa butter from the cacao. His invention leads to producing a powder opening the way for the first chocolate confections. It’s thanks to Van Houten we can enjoy the variety of chocolates we do today.
- Whitman’s produced their first box of chocolate in 1842.
- In 1847, British chocolate company J.S. Fry & Sons combined cocoa butter, cocoa powder, and sugar-producing the first edible chocolate bar.
- The invention of the conching machine by Rodolphe Lindt in 1879 ushered in the mass production of the creamy treat.
- The first chocolate Easter egg was made sometime in the early 19th century. In 1875 John Cadbury introduced his first chocolate egg.
- When Allied troops stormed the beach of Normandy on D-Day, part of emergency rations and in soldiers’ packs included the D ration bar designed by Hershey Chocolate company for the U.S. Army.
- Americans consume 12 pounds of chocolate each year.
Used in a sentence: I've never met a chocolate candy I didn't like.
NATIONAL CARD PLAYING DAY
National Card Playing Day on December 28th encourages us to invite our friends to deal out a hand and play a game or two.
In the 9th century, the Chinese began developing games using money and other paper objects. These early playing cards bear no resemblance to the sturdier European playing cards that emerged a few centuries later.
Card games spread around the world in a variety of shapes and styles. From the elaborate Mamluk designs of Egypt to the appearance of the first playing cards during the Early Renaissance in Europe, the decks were divided into four suits of coins, cups, swords, and sticks or batons.
It is from these four suits that today’s modern decks of playing cards developed. Theories range how the suits converted to hearts, spades, diamonds and clubs. One theory suggests the suits represent the different classes of the era – clergy, aristocracy, military, and peasantry.
In India, the ten suited card game of Ganjifa became popular during the Moghul period. Traditionally, artists hand-painted a stunning scene on each of the 120 cards in the deck.
A standard pack of cards may be used for playing a variety of card games, with varying elements of skill and chance, some of which are played for money. Some of the top card games include Spades, Poker, Solitaire, Spite and Malice, Hearts, Spoons, Gin Rummy, Ridge, Black Jack, and Texas Hold’em. Of course, there are thousands of card games, some of which are regional favorites.
Used in a sentence: My favorite card game for the UGA defense in the playoff would be Georgia hold 'em.