For something as universally enjoyed around the world as chocolate, it’s reasonable that it’s celebrated in a big way. World Chocolate Day is exactly that, but there’s one problem. Just like the variety of chocolates and the many cultures which enjoy them, chocolate isn’t limited to one celebration.
Apart from World Chocolate Day, held on the 7th of July, there’s International Chocolate Day on September 13th and National Chocolate Days held on different dates in every country. However, one thing all these celebrations have in common is that they commemorate all things chocolate.
Read on to learn what makes each of these global chocolate day celebrations different.
What is World Chocolate Day?
World Chocolate Day is celebrated annually on July 7th, and honors the very existence of chocolate. Not much is known about how or who started the relatively new celebration, except that a book titled “The 2009 Weird & Wacky Holiday Marketing Guide,” by Ginger Carter-Marks, references it on page 43.
It’s suggested as a holiday to commemorate the introduction of chocolate to Europe in 1550, which historians believe occurred on the same day. Because of its mysterious origin, it’s not catered to a specific demographic nor is it tied to any particular country or culture.
It’s now celebrated globally by gifting or consuming chocolate, and generally by anyone who enjoys the treat. However, a news article in 2020 notes that Ghana, the United States, and Latvia are countries which also celebrate chocolate on their own dates.
Due to its global reach, World Chocolate Day is sometimes mistaken for International Chocolate Day. However, the date and reference for International Chocolate Day are actually different.
What is International Chocolate Day?
In the United States, the National Confectioners Association (NCA), an American trade organization founded in 1884, is said to have established International Chocolate Day. It isn’t clear when the unofficial holiday started, but it’s set on the 13th of September, coinciding with the day Milton S. Hershey was born.
This connection is made in page 6 of a 2008 book from Pennsylvania State University titled, “Creative Forecasting, Volume 20, Issues 7-12.” The NCA doesn’t recognize it as part of the “Big Four” celebratory seasons – Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, and Christmas.
However, it’s a time for big organizations and industry players around the world to throw large scale festivals, share about it on social media, and put together events for producers and consumers.
What is National Chocolate Day?
The date when National Chocolate Days are celebrated will vary depending on the country. As the name suggests, National Chocolate Days are more local or regional celebrations, even though they may coincide with international celebrations.
The United States celebrates theirs on October 28, eerily close to Halloween. In 2005, the major cacao-exporting country, Ghana, institutionalized theirs on February 14th to promote their locally-made chocolates.
Latvia, on the other hand, shares the recognition of celebrating chocolates on July 11. This is on the same day as the Russians, who attribute the trend of celebrating chocolate to the French. It’s even alleged that they have been celebrating chocolate day as far as back as 1995.
History of the National Chocolate Days
Chocolate’s popularity increased relatively quickly after being introduced to Europe, and advancements helped it evolve into the confection we know it as today. The celebration of chocolate in ancient civilizations had deep roots in their culture and even how their societies functioned.
In contrast, its consumption increasingly became a matter of commercial value, and the sweet narratives that big chocolate companies established in order to turn a profit (see: Cadbury’s heart shaped chocolate tin).
Holidays that commemorate chocolate are likely to fall under what the candy industry calls micro Sweet Holidays. They don’t bring in as much money as the big four main Sweet Holidays, but present more occasions to make additional sales.
Honestly, it’s a great way for anyone or any industry to advertise and make a bit of money. It also became much easier to spread these trends thanks to the advent of social media and electronic distribution.
In some cases, they’ve even been recognized by a state or Federal government with enough corporate lobbying (for example, US Presidential Proclamation 5219 and Ghana’s governmental support).
Ways to Celebrate World Chocolate Day
You can celebrate World Chocolate Day by consuming or gifting ready-made chocolates to loved ones. You can even mix it up by engaging with businesses that host relevant events, or by making them yourself. What is important is that you consume good chocolates.
To help give you an idea, here are five things you can do to celebrate World Chocolate Day, or any Chocolate Holiday.
- Host chocolate-themed movie viewings for friends or family, and serve chocolate snacks.
- Gift chocolate to friends and family for them to enjoy together.
- Go out for dinner or to a café to have a chocolate dish or dessert.
- Bake or make your own chocolates, chocolate dips, chocolate pastries, chocolate cakes, or dishes to eat.
- Keep an eye out for local chocolate companies hosting festivities or discounts and make it a point to participate.
World Chocolate Day FAQ
Chocolate holidays are celebrated by the public to honor chocolate’s existence and just generally have another excuse to enjoy chocolate. In fact, it’s largely believed that the chocolate industry and businesses are behind the creation of these celebrations as a commercial stunt to boost sales.
The National Chocolate Day celebrated on September 13 was created by a US trade organization, but is also recognized around the world, mostly by participants in the chocolate industry.
No. World Chocolate Day is celebrated globally on July 7, however in the future some countries may declare it as their National Chocolate Day.
There are multiple national chocolate days celebrated by individual countries or regions: October 28th in the United States, February 14th in Ghana, and July 11th for Latvia and Russia.
There’s only one. International Chocolate Day is celebrated globally on September 13, after being created by a US trade company. However, World Chocolate Day is held on July 7th, has mysterious origins, and is sometimes referred to as International Chocolate Day.