22 December 2011

Scandinavian Christmas: The Gingerbread House

Gingerbread was brought from Asia to Europe in 992 by the Armenian monk Gregory of Nicopolis. While he lived in France for a period of 7 years, he taught the Gingerbread cooking to French priests and Christians.

During the 13th century, the knowledge was brought to Sweden by German immigrants. In 1444 the Swedish nuns were recorded baking gingerbread to ease indigestion. It was the custom to bake white biscuits and paint them as window decorations. Gingerbread became widely available in the 18th century.

In Scandinavia, the most popular form of ginger confection are the gingerbread cookies. They are thin, very brittle and are associated with the extended Christmas period. In Norway and Sweden the gingerbread cookies are also used as window decorations. It is a long standing tradition to bake gingerbread cookies and to make gingerbread houses covered with a variety of candies and icing with kids.

The newspapers in Norway are bursting with gingerbread houses photos around Christmas and almost every town in Norway puts on display collections of gingerbread houses made in kindergartens, schools and homes creating magical gingerbread towns but the one they make in Bergen is supposedly the world's largest such town.

Here are some photos from Norway and Sweden to put you in the festive gingerbread mood.

Photo: pvv.ntnu.no

Photo via Milda
Photo: FinnLover via Yumsugar
Photo via Milda
Photo: VisitBergen
Photo: Bergen Sentrum
Photo: Byens Næringsliv
Photo: Torild Storvik Malmedal via VG
Photo via Milda
What are the Christmas traditions you enjoyed as a child and want to keep alive?

Source: Wikipedia


  1. Love this post! We live in Toronto but last Christmas, my husband and I were in Sweden and Denmark. I can't wait to see more of Scandinavia!


  2. These are amazing! I have never tried one. I should!

    Family tradition:
    I keep Christ in Christmas <><

    Stopping by from Blogging Buddies

  3. Thanks for sharing the history of the gingerbread house...love the photos! I can't imagine how much time it took to create some of those villages!
    Merry Christmas!

  4. Oh, wow!! Gingerbread houses aren't nearly such a big deal around here, haha! We're actually going to decorate gingerbread houses with my cousins tomorrow...though of course, our houses are made of graham crackers and glued together with hot glue. ;) But still, it should be fun, even if they don't turn out as nicely as these masterpieces! So gorgeous. :)

  5. WOW - these are amazing! I cant even imagine how much time went into creating these. How wonderful!

  6. Gingerbread houses are so fun and fascinating. When I was growing up, I always looked forward to making and decorating cut out cookies. I carried that on with my kids and now I've started with my granddaughter.

  7. These are really amazing, thanks so much for sharing!

    I like to keep the tradition of being with family at every holiday.

  8. Yes it´s true, gingerbreadcockies (pepparkakor in swedish) are christmast in Sweden, my family bake them every year! Often we do one big heart for each familymember, write our names with crusting and hang them with a red thread in the windows! Some years we make gingerbreadhouses but it can be a bit trixie!

    Thanks for a great blog! Love from Jenny in Sweden