Totality

The Sun, the Moon, Chocolate and Beer
by Lindsay Tarnoff

A Total Eclipse is Coming to Rochester

And a Partial Eclipse in just a few weeks!

TL;DR: Join us for a partial eclipse viewing party on October 14 between 11 and 4! 

Six months later, on April 8, we’ll be viewing the Total Solar Eclipse from The Public Market! Interested in joining us as a vendor? Email info@laughinggullchocolates.com for more info.

Interested in our eclipse chocolates for wholesale? Email wholesale@laughinggullchocolates.com.

Matzah and Macaroons, Passover

The Sun, The Moon, and Chocolate

I’ve been an amateur stargazer for years. Who hasn’t been fascinated by the shimmering lights up above; ancient lore of astronomical events as omens – the connection of the moon to the tide and our bodies. It’s fascinating. It all felt foreign and untouchable, as a small town girl growing up in a light polluted world – until as an adult I started visiting Central Ontario, and saw the Milky Way for the first time. I was in awe! All year long, I looked forward to having s’mores under the stars. (Yes, in my life, everything connects to chocolate!)

Chocolate is an overarching theme in my life. And in 2017, I viewed the partial eclipse with my 5 week old daughter in arms, alongside my husband and my mom; I knew I needed more of these events in my life. These celestial events, utterly out of my control, somehow made me feel more connected to my neighbor, to strangers. In a similar way, chocolate connects me to people I meet. It wasn’t long after that 2017 partial eclipse that I met Deb Ross and Dan Schneiderman, of the Rochester Eclipse Task Force at a Visit Rochester meeting. 

In a few short years, Rochester, NY would be right in the path of totality! (How time flies – it is now a few short months away)!

The last total solar eclipse visible in Rochester was on Jan 24, 1925. Almost 100 years later, on April 8, 2024 in Rochester, NY at 2:07pm, the moon will appear to move in front of the sun. What is known as “totality” – when the moon covers the sun in full – will begin at 3:20pm and lasts for 3 minutes and 38 seconds, plus or minus seconds depending on your precise location. It has been described as a multisensory experience: the skies will darken, temperatures will drop almost ten degrees, and animal sounds behavior will change. Eclipses inspire wonder and awe; they transcend time, society and culture.

chocolate art and Tyler Nordgren's poster

Science and Syzygy

Before people had any scientific explanation of these celestial phenomena, they were bewildered and in awe of the “syzygy” – the “pairing” of the sun, the moon and the earth. Humans have been tracking eclipses for millenia, and even using the astronomical phenomena as predictors of events here on earth – signs for rituals and change. They looked for meaning in the skies; humans impressed earthly significance onto these cyclical celestial events. Societies fashioned legends around eclipses. According to an article in The Atlantic, ancient Ojibwe peoples tried to reignite the blacked-out sun by firing flaming arrows into it; the word “eclipse” itself descends from the Greek word meaning “abandonment.” Kings, Popes and other monarchs have perished in the wake of eclipses – it only made sense, after all, that if a monarch is a divinely chosen ruler, that ruler must change after the order of nature is altered. Historically, when humans don’t understand something, we create an explanation. Norse Gods locked up Loki, an evil enchanter, who avenged them by creating wolflike giants who swallowed the sun; an Armenian dragon swallowed the sun and the moon. German myth tells the tale of the hot Sun and the cold Moon marrying, and seeking companionship during an eclipse. Where people don’t have an explanation, they also concoct notions of magic or witchcraft. According to The Farmers Almanac, modern baby blogs ask if pregnant women should wear some kind of metal to protect the baby during an eclipse. (Similarly, the use of drinking chocolate has also been associated with witchcraft. Learn more at one of our upcoming chocolate experiences). 

(I feel like I have to note – the only safety or health concern during an eclipse is for eyes: it is never safe to look directly at the sun! Like many businesses in Rochester, Laughing Gull Chocolates will be handing out eclipse glasses to view the partial eclipse. It is actually safe to look at the eclipse ONLY during the brief moments of totality).

Telescope in front of Laughing Gull Chocolates

Rochester and Chocolate on the Path of Totality

The tendency to explain phenomena that we don’t innately understand is part of what makes us human. Ironically, this inclination contributed to labeling chocolate as “the food of the gods,” and popularized the drink in ancient MesoAmerica. Chocolate was included in royal traditions, ancient baptisms, weddings, birth ceremonies and more. Versions of cacao rituals are celebrated even today. Chocolate ceremonies are thousands of years old, much like rituals and prayers surrounding the eclipse. The Washington Post has an interesting article describing ancient eclipse traditions. We love this connection between chocolate and eclipses, and it made us that much more eager to honor and celebrate the eclipse. (We also made two special eclipse chocolates!)

How are we observing and experiencing the eclipse? Laughing Gull Chocolates has partnered with Rohrbach’s Brewing Company to host The Eclipse Rocs the Public Market. (Lots more info coming soon – we are excited!) This will be a fully accessible, family friendly, free public viewing event. There will be activities, music, art, food trucks, and more – we can’t wait to join our community and experience this eclipse together. We will have chocolate suns and moons, and eclipse art. Rohrbach’s Brewing Company has brewed a special beer (and has a one-of-a-kind collaboration with two other local brewers).

Can’t wait six months? There’s a partial eclipse in just a few weeks, on October 14! And as Eclipse Ambassadors, we will be hosting an Eclipse Viewing Party, complete with a telescope, eclipse glasses to share, eclipse activities and more. Join us for our family friendly event, outside at Laughing Gull Chocolates on October 14! The eclipse will start around 12pm, lasting until around 2:30pm.

For some “Eclipse Quick Facts,” check out RMSC’s Quick Facts here

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