DAMASCUS, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- Residents in Syria's capital Damascus enjoyed a "chocolate feast" on Sunday to take a festive mood in the coming holiday season of Christmas and the New Year despite conflicts and various woes raging in the country.
Women, men and children jam-packed the gate of the al-Qaysar Hotel in Damascus on Sunday for the four-day event, the first of its kind to take place in Damascus.
Many chocolate makers took part in the event, showcasing their various products while offering samples to the crowds to taste.
For the visitors, coming to the "chocolate feast" is all about having fun and tasting chocolate to get their minds off the war.
Sama, a housewife, came with her little boy to take a look and buy chocolate for the holiday season.
"This is a unique and beautiful experience because it is first of its kind in Syria. We came here today to celebrate the spirit of the holiday season and of course, we like to take part in the celebrations to get our minds off the war," Sama told Xinhua.
Sahar came with her husband to enjoy the chocolate tasting.
"This is the first time such an event is held in Damascus and it is a wonderful event and we wish for more events like this to take place so that people can participate and release the stress they have been suffering since the beginning of the war," she said.
The organizers said the event aims at reviving the spirit of the holiday season, following a six-year war.
Mayada Olabi, one of the organizers, said she wanted the Damascenes to experience the spirit of the holiday similar to the people of Europe and the United States.
"The chocolate feast is a fun day as we are celebrating the chocolate festival on the occasion of the holiday season because I wanted to create a similar holiday atmosphere similar to that of Europe and the United States," Olabi said.
The woman, in her late forties, said she did not expect the huge turnout, with people jostling to enter the venue of the event.
"In Syria, we have very good chocolate manufacturers and we have creative people who make cakes and chocolate," she said.
During the event, people seemed so happy as if they finally found a reason to be cheerful after suffering from a six-year war which is still ongoing.
On Sunday, a Syrian government delegation arrived in Geneva to participate in the Geneva talks, just days after the first sessions ended with no tangible results.
It is not clear yet whether the upcoming sessions would generate any fruits, nor is it clear whether the two sides would meet face to face.
This session is part of the eighth round of intra-Syria talks in Geneva, which started on Nov. 28.