Gingerbread house is rooted in religion

Recently a writer lamented that the Postal Service issued a nonreligious stamp along with stamps honoring Kwanzaa and Hanukkah. Perhaps the Postal Service has unknowingly issued a stamp with deep, but unrecognizable religious symbolism.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem. The word Bethlehem means “house of bread.” In the eighth century, Christian nuns and monks would bake gingerbread cakes for medicinal purposes. This custom became popular in Scandinavia, France and Germany. In the 14th or 15th centuries, perhaps as early as the 12th century, bakers would mold the cakes into houses as a reminder of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. Immigrants from western Europe brought the custom to North America.

So when you affix a gingerbread stamp to your Christmas cards, remember that Jesus was born in Bethlehem – “the house of bread.”

Joe Farrell

West Seneca