|Place of origin||Medieval Europe|
A gingerbread man is a biscuit or cookie made of gingerbread, usually in the shape of a stylized human, although making other shapes, especially seasonal themes (Christmas, Halloween, Easter, etc.) and characters, are quite common as well.
Gingerbread dates back to the 15th century, and figural biscuit-making was practiced in the 16th century. The first documented instance of figure-shaped gingerbread biscuits was at the court of Elizabeth I of England. She had the gingerbread figures made and presented in the likeness of some of her important guests.
Most gingerbread men share the same roughly humanoid shape, with stubby feet and no fingers. Many gingerbread men have a face, though whether the features are indentations within the face itself or other candies stuck on with icing or chocolate varies from recipe to recipe. Other decorations are common; hair, shirt cuffs, and shoes are sometimes applied, but by far the most popular decoration are shirt buttons, which are traditionally represented by gum drops, icing, or raisins.
In world records
According to the 2009 Guinness Book of Records, the world’s largest gingerbread man was made on December 2, 2006 by the Smithville Area Chamber of Commerce in Smithville, Texas, at their annual Festival of Lights celebration. The gingerbread man weighed in at 1,308 lbs, 8 oz (593.5 kg), and stood at over 20 feet (more than 6 m). On December 6, 2008, also in conjunction with the annual Festival of Lights celebration, a monument was dedicated in honor of the feat made from the very cookie sheet that was used to break the record.
In fiction and popular culture
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (December 2013)|
- "The Gingerbread Man" is a fairy tale about a gingerbread man who comes to life, outruns an elderly couple and various animals, and is devoured by a fox in the end.
- In Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's famous ballet The Nutcracker (1892), the eponymous hero leads an army of gingerbread men against the Mouse King and his fellows.
- The Gingerbread People are the main characters in the game Candy Land (1945).
- "Sweet Gingerbread Man" was a 1970 popular song first heard in the film The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart, performed by the Mike Curb Congregation, with music by Michel Legrand and lyrics by Marilyn and Alan Bergman.
- Gingerbread Man is a 1994 album by the avant-garde music group The Residents.
- The Gingerbread Man is a 1998 film directed by Robert Altman and starring Kenneth Branagh, Robert Downey Jr and Robert Duvall.
- The Gingerbread Men were featured in The Muppet Show. In the "Don Knotts" episode, the Gingerbread Men sing the song "Sweet Gingerbread Man" as the opening number. The lead Gingerbread Man is a hand-rod Muppet performed by Frank Oz while the full-bodied Gingerbread Men were performed by Jim Henson, Dave Goelz, Richard Hunt, and Jerry Nelson.
- In the film The Brothers Grimm, a nightmarish twist on the Gingerbread Man appears. A young child is splashed with mud and the mud steals the child's eyes, nose and mouth. It then forms a small mud body with the child's stolen features for a face. The creature grabs the child and absorbs her into itself. It runs off yelling, "You can't catch me, I'm the Gingerbread Man!"
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gingerbread men.|