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Monday, November 23, 2015

Nutcracker

Is it just me or do you find a nutcracker creepy?  I am referring to those evil looking wooden soldiers that seem to haunt a perfectly good Christmas as they somehow find their way to being a staple during the Yuletide season. I was told they are meant to look scary, to ward off evil spirits. Those huge teeth and angry eyes .....shudder!! My former Danish neighbours used to display a waist-high nutcracker next to their christmas tree every year and it scared the crap out of my boys when they were little. We could see it from our window.  It looked really creepy at night when the lights were out and you could still see those ginormous white teeth under the blinking christmas lights. Eeeek!

Why are they called nutcrackers and do they actually crack nuts? I googled for information and here's what I learned from Dawn @ Dawn's Scary Thoughts.

"Well, they do crack nuts and apparently nut crackers have been around since at least the Greeks and Aristotle, at least in a decorative/functional form. England’s King Henry VIII gave second wife Anne Boleyn a decorative wooden nutcracker as a gift in the 1500s. But, the colorful nutcrackers we now associate with Christmas didn’t exist until the 18th century, and were the product of German craftsmen.

In Germany, nutcrackers weren’t just practical tools, they were totems said to protect families from danger. Their big wooden teeth were designed to scare away evil spirits, and their ability to crack nuts symbolized the circle of life: A tree drops a seed (nut), which becomes a tree and from the tree the wooden nutcracker is born. The nutcracker, by design, also was a form of satirical political commentary. Nutcrackers made in the image of high-ranking officials, kings and soldiers were a way to force high-status men to “serve” the people. For example, Napoleon may have won battles in Germany, but he was helpless in the hands of the German people, who made the little general’s likeness the most popular nutcracker design of its time.

In the 19th century, nutcrackers began being sold as children’s toys for Christmas. The most popular designs during this time were harlequins and soldiers. One of these soldier nutcrackers became the protagonist of E.T.A. Hoffman’s novel The Nutcracker and the King of Mice , which subsequently inspired Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suit e and The Nutcracker ballet. In America, the nutcracker as a collector’s item first gained popularity in the 1950s, when American GIs returning from Germany brought the colorful nutcrackers home with them. During the same period, The Nutcracker ballet’s popular success also sparked interest in the colorful wooden toy."

My cookified version of a nutcracker.

Nutcracker Cookies
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

And oh, my nutcrackers were featured on Sunday's Best Link-up #49 and Wake Up Wednesday Linky Party #97 !

13 comments:

Steph said...

Your nutcracker cookies are not scary at all! They look wonderful. But you are right, those decorative nutcrackers...creepy! I only found them "not as scary" after taking my daughter to the ballet. Now I think they are cute. :) Well, sort of... Some are still a but creepy! Lol!

TheKimSix Fix said...

I love your cookies! I think they are adorable. I'm going ot share them on my facebook page in fact! Thanks so much for linking up to #YoureGonnaLoveit

betty said...

Your cookies definitely are not scary looking :) I didn't realize the nutcrackers from days gone by were also used as totems. Learned some interesting trivia today :)

betty

mail4rosey said...

I want to see it. I've never seen it live (the ballet). I think we're going this year. I don't think the nutcrackers are creepy, but I know lots of people do, lol!

alissa apel said...

I always liked Nutcrackers. I have a few on my Christmas tree. I knew someone else that thought they were creepy to.

Jessica Powell said...

Those cookies are amazing!! I think Nutcrackers are a little creepy - but that just kind of adds to their appeal for me, lol. I bought a set of mini ones last year that 'dance' when you pull a string. Sadly too much pulling was done and they're not fit for a reappearance this year, but I might splash out and get some more robust ones instead :) #KCACOLS

Wendy said...

I really feel like I have just learnt a lot about nutcrackers! They are creepy looking but your cookies look amazing, very detailed icing..love them!xx #KCACOLS

Carlee said...

Those look amazing! You have way more patience than I do. I enjoy decorating cookies, but like to keep it pretty easy on myself. I have a two color per cookie max ;-)

Hena Tayeb said...

had never really thought of them as scary.. but I love the backstory.. how fascinating.

Rachel Bitmead said...

Nutcrackers thankfully do not scare us at all. I find Halloween more frightening! Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday

Charlotte said...

I have never found nutcrackers that scary but then I have always liked the ballet and story behind it - those cookies look amazing though, so artistic!!
#KCACOLS

Chrissy said...

Very funny! I agree, nutcrackers are scary! Thanks for the laugh and the lesson this morning :-) - Chrissy

https://chrissy-mckenzie.squarespace.com

Melanie said...

I never thought of them being creepy but I can see why you'd look at them that way! I have one that I put out every year. It's on a train and rolls back and forth. It's one of the kids' favorite decorations.

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