Gingerbread House Decorating

Then …

A Winter Village…. Of Gingerbread!

The first known gingerbread recipe is attributed to the Ancient Greeks and goes back to 2400BCE. However, the tradition of holiday gingerbread houses was slowly evolved with cultures from around the world contributing and developing old traditions in new ways. The Medieval fairs of England largely popularized the decorating of gingerbread. Queen Elizabeth I is credited with serving the hard cookies at court, made to resemble dignitaries and royal figures in attendance. The tradition evolved into seasonal festivals where shapes of birds, flowers, and animals would be elaborately decorated based on the theme. These became known as ‘fairings’, and became synonymous with elite elegance in English society. Often being decorated with gold leaf, the cookies birthed the phrase ‘to take the gilt off’. However, lit wasn’t until the 16th century when German culture added an architectural element to the fairings and gingerbread houses were popularized. The popularity of the houses grew drastically after the Brothers Grimm published the story of Hansel & Gretel. This year SJA students carried on this festive tradition in our second annual Gingerbread Decorating Contest. Students paired off and competed to create the best house. Their creations are now on display and being voted on by the rest of the student body and SJA staff. Which is your favorite?!