Like peanut butter and jelly, the holidays and gingerbread are made for each other.
But what is the significance of gingerbread and why is it such a special holiday treat? We found out some fun facts about the history of gingerbread and its interesting history.
Christmas and gingerbread
While there’s no clear reason why we associate Christmas with gingerbread, we think it might have to do with the ancient Greek and Egyptian civilizations. Both cultures were known to have used gingerbread to celebrate special ceremonies.
How’d they come to be gingerbread men?
Queen Elizabeth I is believed to be responsible for the first gingerbread man as she had them made to resemble visiting dignitaries and then presented them to the dignitaries as a gift.
But what about gingerbread houses?
After the Brothers Grimm published “Hansel and Gretel” in the 19th century, gingerbread houses became very popular in Germany. Then, the tradition of making gingerbread and building gingerbread houses was brought to America by early German settlers.
Fun fact: The world’s largest gingerbread house was built in Texas in 2013. It took 1,800 pounds of butter, 7,200 eggs, 3,000 pounds of sugar, 7,200 pounds of flour to make and was said to include about 35,823,400 calories. Once completed, it stood about 60 feet by 42 feet and measures up to 20 feet tall. We’re not sure who got to take a bit out of this masterpiece of a home…
Close your eyes and make a wish on a gingerbread cookie!
According to the Swedish tradition, you can make a wish using gingerbread. First, put the gingerbread in your palm and then make a wish. You then have to break the gingerbread with your other hand. If the gingerbread breaks into three, the wish will come true. So maybe your wish won’t come true, but at least you’ll have a cookie!
Gingerbread has health benefits … sort of
A doctor once wrote a prescription for gingerbread for the Swedish King Hans to cure his depression. A prescription to eat a cookie? Sounds like a smart doctor who knows what they’re talking about.