12 December is gingerbread house day. Image: Pixabay

Let’s get decorating – It’s gingerbread house day!

Gingerbread house day is celebrated on 12 December, and we take a look at the history behind one of our favorite Christmas traditions


12 December is gingerbread house day. Image: Pixabay

An age-old favorite Christmas tradition, loved by adults and children alike, 12 December is gingerbread house day.

The history behind gingerbread house day

It is thought that gingerbread was first baked in Europe at the end of the 11th century when returning crusaders brought back the custom of spicy bread from the Middle East.

Ginger was not only tasty; it also had properties that helped preserve the bread.

According to a French legend, Gregory of Nicopolis, an Armenian monk and later saint, brought this to Europe in 992 A.D. (Gregory Makar).

Gingerbread figurines date from the 15th century, and human-shaped biscuits were baked in the 16th century.

Professional baker guilds were formed among bakers

Gingerbread bakers were a distinct component of the bakers’ guild in many European countries. Gingerbread baking became a well-known profession.

Except for Christmas and Easter, only professional bakers were allowed to make gingerbread in the 17th century.

Gingerbreads shaped like hearts, stars, soldiers, trumpets, swords, pistols, and animals were sold in special shops and seasonal markets throughout Europe.

The practice of decorating these houses began in Germany in the early 1800s.

Hansel and Gretel plays a big part in this tradition

Certain researchers believe that the first gingerbread houses were inspired by the well-known Grimm’s fairy tale Hansel and Gretel.

The tradition has survived into modern times in some parts of Europe. Before Christmas, German Christmas markets still sell decorated houses.

One of the most significant dates in the history of gingerbread houses occurred in 2015.

This is when the world’s largest house was built, the gingerbread house measured 2,520 square feet.

To put this in context, it is roughly half the size of a standard tennis court.

It grew to a height of 21 feet, it also accumulated 35.8 million calories.

This feat occurred in Bryan, Texas, and was recognized as the largest house in the Guinness World Records.

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