The History of the Snowman

13th November 2014

When someone asks you to conjure up images of Christmas, how could you not picture a snowman?  Throughout the years it has become one of the iconic symbols of the festive season.  As a child, I remember the thrill of making a snowman complete with hat, scarf, buttons and a carrot for the nose. These days, snowmen can be found on everything Christmas related, from greeting cards to jumpers.  Not only that, but who didn’t grow up at Christmas without watching Raymond Brigg’s famous children’s tale, The Snowman.

That said, I often wonder how the Snowman came about, and became such a huge part of our Christmas traditions.  Unfortunately, there is little documentation or evidence throughout history of building snowmen or indeed, how they ever came about in the first place.  Who did come up with the idea and build the world’s very first snowman?

According to author and snowman expert (yes you read that correctly), Bob Eckstein, snowman making is one of the oldest folk arts known in history.  In fact, the earliest documentation he found was a marginal illustration from a work titled Book of Hours from 1380, found in Koninklijke Bibliotheek, in The Hague.  Apart from that, there is very little information known about them.

Today, with the use of pictures, cameras and film, we have huge amounts of footage of them, even if they only exist for a few hours or days.  It also means that we can see the many different styles people around the world use to build their snowmen. In Europe and North America, for example, snowmen are usually formed from three snowballs, while people in East Asia tend to favour two spheres.

However people choose to create their snowman, rest assured he will always come complete with his common accessories which include branches for arms and a rudimentary smiley face often made from stones; and of course, not forgetting the traditional carrot for the nose.  Old hats and scarfs may also be commandeered as well from closets and attics, to ensure that Mr Snowman is befitting for the part.

To keep the magic of the snowman alive and to make sure this Christmas is never forgotten why not take a look at our Itsyourstory magical Snowman Adventure book, which places your child in amongst all the action, even if there isn’t enough snow outside for them to create their own.  What’s more, you will receive a FREE animated e-story delivered straight to your inbox once you've placed your order.

The book and accompanying animated e-story features the child's face on every page and includes personal information such as their address, the name of a friend and family members.

Also available as a stand-alone animated e-story for only £2.50, plus check out the free Snowman e-card.

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