Sunday, March 31, 2013

Versailles' hunter-gatherer population

My refusal to write about chocolate mustn't fool you, dear reader: chocolate is ubiquitous in here and if ever in doubt over what to bring to a French host, or a meeting, party, funeral or other human get-together in France, the doubt should cease right this moment, because the solution is very straight forward: just bring some chocolate! (not sure about the funeral, though, never been to a French one actually :P)

And if you thought that after all this infatuation over it there's no official chocolate day to celebrate it properly just because I didn't mention it before, it's now time to correct this omission. Happy Easter, everyone, today is the chocolate day in France! Now, let me tell you how Easter is related with chocolate, because it might not be that obvious when you get to think about it.

So here's the story from A to Z: in the same way like for Christmas, the Easter was recuperated by some smart religious people from an ancestral pagan celebration of spring that used to take place every year at the spring's first full moon. As we all know, the spring is synonymous with nature revival, a sign that the new agricultural year is about to start: flowers start to bloom, animals cease their hibernation, temperatures start to rise (well, at least in theory) and for that reason the egg was naturally chosen as a symbol for this renewal: it carries new life and it's a fertility mark (love is in the air!).

Even if nowadays we must think that the eggs we use to make some delicious omelets are laid by the supermarket, there was a time when they were laid by an actual hen, which had the passing fancy not to lay eggs during winter even when menaced with the capital punishment. So, surprise surprise! The spring is that time of the year that also coincides with hens' decision to regularly lay eggs, so people were so sieged with the generous amount of eggs laid upon them that they decided to make a party out of it. A most rational decision, if you ask me.

After all this, there's only a small step left to pass from the traditional, agricultural symbolism of the hen's egg to the industrial and post-industrial stylization of it: make it with chocolate and have different models and colors for it. Easy!

Now that we finally have our chocolate eggs, it's time for the fathers of the French families to start hiding them in the garden they happily possess (or, for those who don't have one, they organize a trip to one of the many public gardens open for the occasion). On Easter morning, all the children will rush in there to find as many chocolate goodies they can find then they stuff themselves up with (possibly) all of the findings. Try then to reason, if you can, with a bunch of kids wildly running around because their blood sugar levels went through the roof.

Happy Easter, Joyeuses Pâques !

No comments:

Post a Comment