Christmas Trivia - Gingerbread Houses
Why are gingerbread houses made at Christmas?
Gingerbread first appeared in Europe in the 10th century, brought to France by an Armenian monk. By the 16th century, gingerbread was available for purchase in markets.
Early gingerbread was laid out flat, later cut into shapes, and eventually stamped with images. Later it became fashionable to decorate gingerbread. Decorated gingerbread was displayed in shop windows, and used to impress visitors.
Because gingerbread was a sweet and spiced, it was a delicacy reserved for special occasions, and was often sold at Christmas markets and enjoyed at Christmas celebrations.
Though decorating gingerbread cookies had become a growing trend, the popular activity of buiding gingerbread houses took hold after Hansel and Gretel was published by the Brothers Grimm.
German settlers brought gingerbread to America, as well as gingerbread houses. Although the ingredients to make gingerbread are now commonplace, the tradition of enjoying gingerbread especially at Christmas time remains.