Christmas Gingerbread Discover the Christmas custom, story, myth and legend associated with the Christmas Gingerbread. This festive tradition and Christmas custom, with its familiar symbol and meaning, has evolved over time. But what is the history, meaning
and origin of the Christmas Gingerbread? This
article provides facts and information about the history of the Christmas Gingerbread
as a familiar symbol, tradition and Christmas custom.
The Christmas Custom, Origin and History of the Christmas Gingerbread The Christmas custom of eating
gingerbread dates back to England in the Medieval times. Originally,
the term gingerbread referred to preserved ginger from the French
word 'gingerbras'. Gingerbread is a term to describe ginger flavored
cakes, biscuits or cookies and bears no resemblance to dough that
bread is made from. The French word 'gingerbras' (where the
's' is silent) sounded similar to the word gingerbread when
spoken inEnglish and this is how the word was derived. The
ginger spice was introduced to Medieval Europe by the crusaders.
Recipes for Gingerbread changed over time. The potent ground spices
used in Medieval cooking recipes were called 'Good Powders'. Pungent
spices such ground ginger or a blend of cinnamon and mace, cubeb,
pepper or clove was called 'Strong Powder' (Pouder Fort).
The History of Christmas Gingerbread
Every old town or country fair in England had a
different food associated with it. This was often a type of
gingerbread - a favorite flavor deriving from the Medieval love of
spices. A 'fairing’ was a present given at or brought from a fair
which was often a form of gingerbread.
Gingerbread and various recipes were brought to America
by the European immigrants. Early American cookies were referred to
as "cakes" and gingerbread was later described as a form of cookie.
Honey-based gingerbread cookies were popular with the German
immigrants and were called Lebkuchen.
The practice of moulding Gingerbread into different
shapes was fashionable in the court of Queen Elizabeth I. A
gingerbread man was created for important guests of the Queen in an
actual likeness of the guest. Later, wooden moulds were used to in
the shape of a stylized human with stubby arms and legs. Gingerbread
men are traditionally decorated with icing eyes, mouth and buttons
down the body section.
The Gingerbread House was believed to have been made
following the popularity of a fairytale by the Brothers Grimm. The
fairy tale was Hansel and Gretel. The story follows Hansel and
Gretel, a young brother and sister, who discover a house of candy
and cake in the forest which is owned by a wicked witch who eats
children. The house is described as follows:
"...it was built of bread
and covered with cakes, but that the windows were of clear sugar.
"We will set to work on that," said Hansel, "and have a good meal. I
will eat a bit of the roof, and you Gretel, can eat some of the
window, it will taste sweet."
The idea of a
gingerbread house was then turned into reality. After the fairy tale
was published in the 1800's, German bakers began baking houses of
lebkuchen and even employed artists and craftsmen to decorate them!
The Christmas Custom
- Old Gingerbread
The following Old recipe is taken from the book by Hannah Woolley
(1622-1675) printed at the White Lion in Duck-Lane, near
West-Smithfield, London in 1672 and entitled:
The Queen-like Closet
Scored with all manner of
Preserving, Candying and Cookery
To make Almond
Take a little Gum-Dragon (*A congealing
agent) and lay it in steep in Rosewater all night, then take half a
Pound of Almonds blanched and beaten with some of that Rosewater,
then take half a pound of fine Sugar beaten and searced, of Ginger
and Cinamon finely searced, so much as by your taste you may judge
to be fit; beat all these together into a Paste, and dry it in a
warm Oven or Stove
Christmas Gingerbread Christmas is
celebrated worldwide, throughout the Christian population of
2275 million people,
but is also celebrated by many non-Christians as a secular, cultural
festival. A Christmas custom or tradition is symbolized by a familiar symbol or icon, such as the Christmas Gingerbread, have come to represent the spirit
and meaning of this special time of the year.
The history, meaning and origin of
this familiar symbol
Traditions - Christmas Gingerbread
Meaning and origin of this traditional Christmas custom
History, Facts and information
about Christmas Gingerbread
Meaning, history and origin of
Christmas custom -
Christmas, have a happy and prosperous