Innocent-Looking Gingerbread Cookies Don’t Have A Sweet Past; There’s A Dark History

Yummy gingerbread might be great but its history is not so sweet.

by Ankita Mazumdar
Innocent-Looking Gingerbread Cookies Don’t Have A Sweet Past; There’s A Dark History

Christmas is right around the corner and building gingerbread houses with your friends and family is a fun and competitive way to spend some quality time. While you have fun activities related to gingerbreads, were you aware that there is a sinister history behind these gingerbreads? These crispy baked goods with ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg as main ingredients have been associated with Cannibalism. You are shocked, right?

Let’s Know About The Dark History Of Gingerbread

It is a shocker, this pudgy-looking gingerbread man wearing a simple Christmas-related attire is linked to Cannibalism. This crunchy cookie’s history is associated with demonic backstory and death. The sweet treat is not so much sweeter from the inside (read history). This quickly became a Christmas mystery.

The word ‘gingerbread’ is derived from the Old French gigembras; it is used for gingered food. It is not a bread but a biscuit cookie. Earlier ginger used to be very expensive but now it is extremely cheap and easily available worldwide. Therefore commoners would buy it fair and would go on to exchange it as a token of love.

Also Read: From Exploring Park Street To Bow Barracks, Come Spend A Perfect Christmas In Kolkata

Slowly superstitions started flying around about these sweet-looking gingerbread men. It is said that a couple of years after Queen Elizabeth’s death, this sweet bread turned into a grim tale. The situation was turned so topsy-turvy that the Dutch magistrates declared it illegal to bake and even consume these cookies!

Supposedly, witches prepared gingerbreads and consumed them which ultimately caused the death of their enemies. A cannibalistic witch who lures kids into a gingerbread home is the story told by the Brothers Grimm, who drew inspiration from folklore. As she prepares to bake them, Hansel and Gretel shove her into the oven in an attempt to save themselves.

Other Facts Related To This Sweet Crumbly Bread

  • Queen Elizabeth I had her personal gingerbread baker, so she could satiate her hunger pangs for this sweet. She also ordered them to prepare the gingerbread man resembling dignitaries which were also used as party favours.
  • Certain people believed that particular shapes were charmed like consuming gingerbread rabbits would help to increase fertility or young women ate gingerbread men in hopes of attracting a husband. Another one is to ward off evils, they ate heart-shaped gingerbread.
  • Gingerbread men only became a Christmas tradition when Queen Victoria popularised the German ritual of evergreen trees adorned with sweets; this tradition is still on. Her husband was German.
  • For the occasion of Halloween, again gingerbread men and death come together as gingerdead men and it has white icing of skeleton bones.

These superstitions are getting weirder and weirder.

Also Read: How Did The Christmas Tree Become The Heartbeat Of Christmas? Take A Look Into The History!

With time and evolution, recipe to make gingerbread has taken a different path. Now, overall the experience of gingerbread is a fun and exciting activity where it is more of a spending quality time with family during Christmas time.

Cover Image Courtesy: Canva

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