Happy National Gingerbread House Day! That’s right, gingerbread houses have their own national day, and we are here to explore why. Gingerbread actually has a long and religious history, but making houses probably came from the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel. Before making houses, gingerbread still had a decorative element, so house making quickly became an art. The art of Gingerbread houses now is a beloved holiday tradition, a 26 year old competition in North Carolina, and lead to Texas building the largest recorded Gingerbread house in 2013.
Gingerbread was originally baked firm to be used in religious ceremonies by the Greeks. The Armenian Monks brought it to England around 992. Baking gingerbread was quite sophisticated, and there were even special molds made to create images of religious figures and saints. Gingerbread continued to be used for religious ceremonies through the 17 century. The creation of religious icons was considered sacred, so only specially trained gingerbread guild makers could make it, except on Christmas and Easter. This is what lead to its popularity around Christmas time. Even so, people were not making gingerbread houses yet.
The gingerbread man came a little later from the Russians as gingerbread patterns and designs became increasingly detailed. In 1812 the Brothers Grimm published the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel. In this classic fairy tale two children are abandoned in the woods and come across a house made of gingerbread, cakes, and candies. The house is home to a witch, whom the children had to escape from. It is believed that people started to make gingerbread houses about the popularity of this fairy tale.
The Growth of Gingerbread house Making
Since then, the popularity of gingerbread houses has greatly increased. It has become a tradition of the winter and Christmas season. It also became its own art form. There is a National Gingerbread House Competition held each year in Asheville, North Carolina. This competition is even broken up by age so children can join the fun too. This competition has truly become a holiday tradition for a lot of people, not just in the area but all over the country.
The largest gingerbread house was build in Bryan, Texas by the Traditions club in 2013. This house stood 60ft. long, 42 ft. wide, and 10.1 ft. high at its tallest point. The house is not still there, but has not been beat out yet. Before them the record was held by Mall of America for their house in 2007. Their house stood at 67 ft tall, but not nearly as wide or long as the house in Texas.
Making Gingerbread houses has a long and odd history, but that only makes it more fun. Building Gingerbread houses is a great way to get into the spirit of the holidays and spend time with friends and family. Your gingerbread house doesn’t have to be perfect, just tasty!
26, 2018 Emily TyraNovember. “20 Must-See Gingerbread House Ideas.” Taste of Home, Taste of Home, www.tasteofhome.com/collection/gingerbread-houses/view-all/?
Zienchuk, Judi. “Gingerbread Houses: Heritage, Tradition AZienchuk, Judi. “Gingerbread Houses: Heritage, Tradition And Events.” Epicure & Culture, Epicure & Culture, 29 Nov. 2016