The tradition of giving money to children on holidays crosses cultures and continents.
Giving coins during the midwinter season has a long history that dates back to ancient Rome and ancient China. During the Roman festival of Saturnalia, which was held in honor of the god Saturn, people exchanged small gifts, including coins, with each other. Red envelopes with coins were also exchanged during the Han dynasty, as part of the New Year’s traditions.
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In the Middle Ages, it became a tradition to give coins as gifts during the holiday season in many European countries. In England, for example, it was common to give “Christmas boxes” filled with small gifts, including coins, to children and servants.
The history of chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil, started in the 1920s. Gelt, is a popular gift during the midwinter celebration of Hannukah. Chocolate coins are also a part of spring festivals like St. Patrick’s Day, and the month of Eid (ah-heed) . Giving chocolate coins is a modern twist on ancient Roman and Chinese practices of coin giving. Both real and chocolate coins are given as symbols of abundance. As in the past, we give children these gifts because we want them to enjoy years of prosperity.
The tradition of giving coins as gifts during the holiday season continues today in many parts of the world. Many people still exchange small gifts, including coins, with friends and loved ones to celebrate the holiday season and show their appreciation for one another. Overall, the tradition of giving coins as gifts at midwinter has a long history that has evolved over time and is still practiced as a symbol of love and hope during the holiday season.
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