Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Nutty About Nutcrackers!
One of the reasons I love the holidays is because I get to bring out my collection of nutcrackers. As collections go, mine is small but it's just the right size for me to display at Christmas. NOTE TO SELF: Don't buy anymore nutcrackers ... you have plenty!
According to German folklore, nutcrackers were given as keepsakes to bring good luck to your family and protect your home. The legend says that a nutcracker represents power and strength and serves like a trusty watch dog guarding your family from evil spirits and danger. A fierce protector, the nutcracker bares its teeth to the evil spirits and serves as the traditional messenger of good luck and goodwill.
Nutcrackers reflect ancestral dining customs where amusing or unusual nutcrackers were part of the social setting adding a whimsical conversation piece as guests lingered over the desert course which included sweetmeats such as pecans and hazelnuts.
Writers, composers and artists sang the praises of the legend of the Nutcracker beginning with the novel “The Nutcracker and the King of Mice,” written sometime between 1776 and 1822, by E.T. Amadeus Hoffman. This novel became the basis for Tchaikovsky’s magnificent “Nutcracker Suite," which debuted as a ballet in St. Petersburg in 1892 and lives on as a holiday tradition throughout the world.
I also have two "Smokers" in my collection. The smokers are used for burning pine scented incense cones.