Almost everyone is familiar with the age-old tradition of a new father handing out cigars to his friends and co-workers when his baby is born. However, no one is aware how and when this custom came about. Some historians trace the tradition of celebrating a birth (especially of a boy) in the family by giving away cigars to the Native Americans. After the Europeans arrived, they just took the practice forward. Around the 17th century, cigars were a very expensive and rare commodity and were often used to display one’s affluence and high social status. Even until the 18th century, cigars were presented as appreciation gifts or given out as tips. As such, it is believed that gifting of the prized cigars at childbirth must have been a show of happiness and large-heartedness and a way of sharing one’s good luck. Another theory is attributed to this custom. In the olden times, the birth of a child took place at home with the help of midwives. There are many people who believe that smoking cigars by the men while the women were busy with the childbirth was a way of whiling away time and calming the nerves.
Whatever be the actual rationale behind gifting cigars when announcing a new baby, the fact is that the tradition held strong for centuries. However, things started changing some decades back. As public awareness grew and anti-smoking laws came into force, people started questioning the relevance and correctness of continuing with the custom. You cannot smoke in hospitals where babies are delivered now-a-days and if you do hand out cigars, you might find that many of your friends are non-smokers. In fact, it is quite common for people to accept the ‘new baby cigars’ out of courtesy, but not light them up ever. The chocolate cigars came as a blessing for those who did not want to give up the traditional cigar gifting and, at the same time, were also conscious of the bad and unhealthy effects of smoking. Chocolate cigars are pieces of delectable chocolate designed to resemble a real cigar. These delicacies were introduced in the late 1800s as a yummy alternative to the harmful tobacco cigars. The added advantage was that these edible cigars could be enjoyed not only by the men, but the women and children as well.
Today, chocolate cigars are easily available at our chocolate stores. They come in pink packs to announce the birth of a girl and in blue for welcoming baby boys. Most of the proud parents even get the cigars personalized by having their names, the baby’s name or the date of birth printed on the cigar bands and the wrappers. Indeed, the ‘It’s a Boy’ and ‘It’s a Girl’ personalized chocolate cigars make a truly wonderful souvenir to share your happiness at becoming a parent with all your loved ones.