Where did the snowman come from
People even in ancient times felt weakness to the visual arts and used for self-expression any available material. It is quite logical to imagine that it was snow for northerners in winter. Therefore, at least exactly and is unknown, when humanity began to sculpt snowmen, it can be assumed from where it began. Why it spreads, we know almost certainly.
It is clear that in Africa, where our ancestors come from, there was no snowman and could not be. They could appear only in Europe. Her ancestors settled, according to different estimates, from 35,000 to 44,000 years ago. By the way, examples of the first sculptures are just dating by this time. These are clay bear figures and bison found in the French cave Montespan, and they are about 30,000 – 35,000 years. So snowmen could have appeared a long time ago. And sculpt them at all for fun.
Scientists believe that once snow figures personified pagan deities. In Russia, for example, they worshiped them as winter spirits. And most of the spirits were. Damami. Slavs believed that for various atmospheric phenomena: blizzard, snow, blizzard or fog – answers the female deity. To draw "Mrs. Meltelitsa", and ledged a snowbab.
There is another version. The famous gathering of Folklore Alexander Afanasyev, who at one time spent a deep analysis of Slavic beliefs and legends and compared them with legends of other nations, suggested that the snowman personifies the heavenly Nymph. The last thing every year falls to the ground as a result of the struggle between the thunder and clouds deities. Spring nymph melts and returns to heaven in the form of a couple. This couple then sheds the rain that is necessary for a good crop. So that he rushes as much as possible, people and loose snowmen.
However, there was a male character – a snowman. At first, in Russia, the snowmen did in the form of pillars with head and two lumps on the sides. Probably, this tradition dates back to Slavic pagan idols, which were also portrayed in the form of high columns with a rectangular head. Such idols, only winter women were probably.
The first snapshot of the snowman, 1845. Mary Dillwyn / National Museum of Wales
Interestingly, the difference in snowmen on the floor existed only from Slavs. Only Snowman is known in Western countries – "Snowman". And there snowmen often portrayed monsters – when laying, it was possible to embody all their fears in a short-lived sculpture. At the same time, the snow was associated with the Divine, because he fell from the sky, and the figures themselves were associated with the unclean force. Snapsheal snowmen were supposed to scare off evil spirits.
However, in the Middle Ages, snowmen increasingly began to sculpt in a realistic manner, which was, on the contrary, to attract demons. People believed that the unclean power could confuse a snowman with a man and to fit into it, and with the onset of spring just melting.
In general, snowmen could have a very different meaning even for one people, not to mention the neighboring. So, the first reliable image of our hero refers to 1380. It was found in the Hague Library in the so-called "book of the clock" – a prayer room for ordinary parishioners, which was used in the Middle Ages. In the fields of the book, a snowman was drawn, which was roasted on fire. What is the reason for this action – it is incomprehensible. The hat on the head of a snowman looks like a Jewish headdress, so there is an opinion that a strange drawing refers to the manifestations of anti-Semitism.
Image of a snowman in the book of 1380
But in general, snowmen symbolized pagan characters and each of their attribute also wore a certain meaning. Carrot instead of the nose stuck so that there was a good harvest next year, the bucket was put on the head for wealth in the house, and the coal-eyes marked the deliverance from the past. The broom was called to drive off evil spirits (like a necklace of garlic, which was put on snowmen in Romania). Although the opinion is relatively the last different: broom, for example, could help the snowman climb into the sky and transfer the human messages to the gods, or she could drive the strong frosts and "notify" more snow so that the land give birth better in the new season.
Every year in the world, including in our country, there are hundreds of all kinds of festivals dedicated to snowmen and snow sculptures. The most unusual, perhaps, in Zurich. Made from a large snowman cotton. Start explosive and placed in a fire. Swiss believe that the faster the unfortunate, the hotter there will be summer.
With the eradication of paganism in Russia, Snowmen have almost ceased to sculpt. Returned the tradition of Peter I, who himself very much loved to sculpt snow women, calling them snow fuas and arrange a competition for the best snowman among his courtiers. "The best" in the understanding of the king is the most funny or coupling.
On the part of the side of snowmen compete and so. In 2008, for example, in the American city of Bethel (Maine), a snowbank was blinded in honor of Senator of the Olympia Snow. The height of the "Senator" was 37 m, and the weight is about 6000 tons. Instead of hands, the Christmas tree inserted and did not even deprived the beauty of the Olympia (so called the snowman) "female stuffing": instead of eyelashes stuck skis, and five car tires that became lips, painted in red. Snowman got into the Guinness Book of Records. Our fellow citizens, however, do not miss. In 2013, the largest snowman in Russia was blinded in the Lianozovsky Park in Moscow – its height was 9.40 m. He was also listed in the book of Records – the truth, not the world, but the our.