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The Snowman and its Historic Beginnings

snowmanHow did the snowman become associated with Christmas?

Who do you think built the first snowman?  It’s a question that’s not easy to answer.  Historical records are vague here, and quite frankly look at the subject matter.  When you build something from snow, the likelihood of preserving any evidence is difficult at best.  The first warm day and any trace of being is gone; removed from our presence forever.

The first known representation of a snowman first appeared in the Middle Ages through artistic representations.  Bob Eckstein, writer/author of “The History of the Snowman”, documents the first appearance of the snowman in the Middle Ages.  His book painstakingly researches and details artistic depictions in European museums, art galleries, and libraries.

The snowman has endured throughout the Middle Ages but it wasn’t until the Victorian Era that the snowman became a popular symbol of the holiday season.  Artistic renderings and images appeared in greeting cards, advertisements, and paintings. Today we think of the snowman as that iconic symbol of Christmas and to a smaller degree, an extension of the winter season. We see it in our movies, TV, clothing, jewelry, home and lawn decorations. Whatever your favorite childhood memories hold for the snowman, one thing can be certain, it’s here to stay.

Fun facts about the snowman:

1.  In North America & Europe the classic snowman is made typically with three large snowballs of varying size, stacked on top of one another; representing the head, torso, and lower body.  Accessories are added for features and personality.

Typical accessories include:

Red scarf

Black top hat

Carrot for the nose

Black buttons, coal, or stones for the eyes, mouth, and torso

Branches for the arms

2.   It’s theorized that the snowman is a rudimentary model for creating images of ourselves; snow just provided the artistic medium.

3.  The song “Frosty the Snowman” was first recorded by Gene Autry and the Cass County Boys in 1950.  The previous year Gene Autry had recorded another popular classic you may have heard “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”.

4.  According to the Guinness World Records, the largest snowman ever made stretched 122 ft. 1″.  Residents living in and surrounding areas of Bethel, Maine, USA, completed building the largest snowman on February 26th 2008.

5.  What’s the best snow to build a snowman?  Certainly not the icy or fluffy stuff that doesn’t stick. The weather needs to be warmer, just above the melting point.  That’s when snow gets sticky and moist for packing.  This snow is best found the day following a substantial snowfall; sometime around the middle of the day as temperatures begin to warm.

So when life gives you snow… make a snowman!

Photo courtesy of David Brown.

 

 

Webpage References:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org

http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com

http://en.m.wikipedia.org

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The Snowman and its Historic Beginnings
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Comments

  1. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!
    Have a very Merry Christmas, my friend!

    Love you,
    Felecia ❄️

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