History[ edit ] An Aztec woman generates foam by pouring chocolate from one vessel to another in the Codex Tudela Cultivation, consumption, and cultural use of cacao were extensive in Mesoamerica where the cacao tree is native. Within the sheath are 30 to 40 brownish-red almond-shaped beans embedded in a sweet viscous pulp. While the beans themselves are bitter due to the alkaloids within them, the sweet pulp may have been the first element consumed by humans. Cacao pods themselves can range in a wide range of colors, from pale yellow to bright green, all the way to dark purple or crimson.
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The Christmas tree is such a popular symbol of the winter holiday that it has been adopted by people of many faiths all over the world. The custom of decorating an evergreen with lights and ornaments is ostensibly Christian, but its roots lie deep in the Pagan past. Many ancient cultures perceived trees to be symbols of the universe, and trees were often associated with the many pagan solar deities whose birthdays were celebrated during the winter solstices. Thus, the return of the sun at the winter solstice was symbolized by the evergreen. The evergreen tree has also been long associated with gift giving- citizens of ancient Rome celebrated the Saturnalia, a week long December festival honoring the God Saturnus, by exchanging gifts attached to evergreen branches. These branches, called strenae, were part of a week long festival that was so popular, it was retained largely intact by Christians.