Wishing you all a safe and happy December!
We met some amazing creative folks and had a blast at the event we participated in during the month of November!
Added Event: NWI Comic Con!
Last month (November the 24h -28th), The Blood Inheritance Novels Series Two-Book set had a special promotional rate! *During the month of December there will be a limited time sale on The Warning Signs (For Kindle). *This countdown deal will be available through Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. It is set to begin on the 22nd and end on the 29th.
readersfavorite.com will have two of my available books listed as prizes in the monthly book giveaway. If you are interested in winning some amazing books by great authors you can check out the monthly giveaway here: book giveaway /Rise or/ and here for The Warning Signs: giveaway/the-warning-signs
Upcoming Event Reminders:
Concealed Realms will be attending QuadCon at the Davenport North Park Mall on Dec. 10th and 11th.
Concealed Realms with be at Anime-Zap! The event takes place January 6th, 7th and 8th in Peoria, IL.
Concealed Realms plans to participate at the Ceder Rapids QuadCon on February 5th. This event takes place at the Cedar Rapids Convention Center.
We are scheduled to return to the NWI Comic Con on February 11th! This event will be held at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Crown Point, IN.
We are scheduled to participate at the Hall of Heroes Comic Con on March 4th and 5th. This event takes place at the Northern Indiana Event Center, located in Elkhart, IN.
Concealed Realms will be at the Quad Cities Comic Con. This even takes place April 15th and 16th, at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport Iowa.
We are scheduled to participate at SalukiCon! This event takes place April 22nd and 23rd at the SIU Student Center in Carbondale, IL.
- Postponed Events:
Concealed Realms plans to participate at Midwest Monster Fest on September 16th ,17th , and 18th, 2022. This event is scheduled to take place in East Moline, IL at The Rust Belt: mwmonsterfest
Quotes Regarding Snow and Snowmen:
…I shall smile when wreaths of snow Blossom where the rose should grow… – Emily Bronte
“I love you because no two snowflakes are alike, and it is possible, if you stand tippy-toe,
to walk between the raindrops.” – Nikki Giovanni
“Snow was falling,
so much like stars
filling the dark trees
that one could easily imagine
its reason for being was nothing more
than prettiness.” – Mary Oliver
“As our feet sink in the snow
We build a snowman no one will know
For the snow will melt away
as the night turns to day” – Lanie Harper
“What good is the warm of summer,
without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” – John Steinbeck
“I believe the Abominable Snowman may be real.
I think there may be something in that.” – David Attenborough
“Snowflakes are one of nature’s most fragile things,
but just look what they can do when they stick together.” – Vesta M. Kelly
“Snow is…a beautiful reminder of life and all its quirks.
It makes me pause. Think. Stay still.
Even my mind takes the hint. It makes me feel giddy. Like a kid.” – R.B. O’Brien
“Snow flurries began to fall and they swirled around
people’s legs like house cats.
It was magical, this snow globe world.”
– Sarah Addison Allen, The Sugar Queen
“Are ye the ghosts of fallen leaves, O flakes of snow,
For which, through naked trees,
the winds A-mourning go?” – John Banister Tabb
Definition of snowman:
noun, plural snow·men.
“snow shaped to resemble a human figure:”- merriam-webster.com
Winter is coming!
While the official first day of winter isn’t until the 21st of December, where I live, the start of the month brings the promise of sub-zero temperatures, icy winds, and snowfall in the near future. And while I could do without the first two items on that list, I do look forward to the third, in moderation. That said, I would not be excited to hear that there is a big winter storm in the forecast, but to me there is nothing quite like being the first person to leave footprints in a newly settled, undisturbed layer of snow.
I think we can all agree that there’s something magical about how snow can inspire a sense of wonder within us as it blankets our surroundings and transforms the scenery, whether you appreciate the quiet majestic dance of the falling ice crystals, love winter athletics, or enjoy playing in piles of the freshly fallen flakes.
With that in mind, for this post I set out to explore the folklore and history of the age old tradition of building snowmen. As we dive into this fun winter pastime, we will touch base on classic snowmen, their construction, some history, and a bit of snowy lore.
what Is a Snowman?
A snowman is a sculpture made of compressed snow that has human characteristics. The practice of building them is a winter tradition in many regions where snow fall is commonplace, although their classic construction differs.
In North America these sculptures generally consist of three packed snowballs which differ in size and are stacked one upon the other with the largest at the bottom, and smallest at the top. These spheres are meant to represent the lower body, the torso, and the head. However, in the United Kingdom it is said to be more common for a snowman to consist of two spheres, with one representing the body and one representing the head.
Once a snowman is built, the usual practice is to decorate and adorn the creation to enhance its human appearance. Carrots are commonly used to represent a nose, whereas coal, stones, or buttons are often used to create eyes and a mouth. Other customary accessories include clothing, such as a hat or scarf, and the addition of branches for arms at the sculptures sides.
Constructing snow spheres:
Making a snowman of powdered snow is an arduous task since it will not easily stick to itself. Snow is most suitable for packing when it approaches its melting point and becomes moist and dense, but not crusty. Given those facts, it is suggested that the preferable time to build a snow-person would be a warm afternoon directly following a sufficient snowfall.
Creating a sphere when using compact, dense snow can be accomplished by constructing a snowball and rolling it. As you move the dense ball around on the snow covered ground, it should pick up more snow beneath it, increasing its overall size.
Some Interesting Facts and History:
The true beginning of the tradition of sculpting snow-people remains a mystery, however some archaeologists believe it’s plausible that prehistoric peoples may have used snow to depict themselves. After-all, they constructed objects with other natural resources, such as stone, bone, clay, and wood.
The author of The History of the Snowman, Bob Eckstein was able to document their existence by investigating artistic depictions in museums, libraries, and galleries. The earliest evidence he found was a small illustration in the The Book of Hours from 1380, which depicts a hat clad snowman sitting near a fire.
The snow-people created in the middle ages were believed to be done with immense artistry and viewing the temporary artwork after their completion was said to be a popular activity. In fact, according to theguardian.com, the art historian Giorgio Vasari recorded that in 1494 the artist Michelangelo was commissioned by Piero the Unfortunate to build a snowman in the Medici courtyard, though little is know about the long ago melted masterpiece.
In 1511, with the hopes of appeasing it’s poor and hungry civilians, the city of Brussels held a snowman festival. However as the locals constructed the snow-people, they used them as a form of protest. Its suggested that of the 110 sculptures, more than half depicted, inappropriate or pornographic scenes. You can read more bout the event here: The_Miracle_of_1511
An early account of snowmen in the U.S. comes from an event in American history known as the Schenectady Massacre of 1690. According to oral history this remote Dutch settlement was under threat of attack, but the soldiers guarding the gate left a pair of snowmen dressed as guards at their post to protect the town, so that they could seek shelter from a blizzard. However, when the contingent of soldiers approached, they were unfazed by the sculptures and invaded, killing 60 villagers.
The earliest known photograph of a snowman, was taken in 1853, by Mary Dillwyn. You can view the image here: laputa.it
Destroying a snowy effigy called the Böögg to mark the end of icy months became a tradition in Zurich, Switzerland, around1902, according to smithsonianmag.com. This snowman is stuffed with straw, cotton, and explosives and set ablaze on the 3rd Monday of April. The belief is that the sooner the Böögg’s head explodes, the closer the arrival of spring is. The event is the climax of the spring holiday called the Sechseläuten (Zürich German: Sächsilüüte), with roots that go back to medieval times.
According to guinnessworldrecords.com, the largest recorded snow-person was created in 2008 in Bethel, Maine. The snow-woman, called “Olympia”, measured 37.21 m (122 ft 1 in) tall.
A report from bbc.com suggests that the worlds smallest snowman was made in 2016, and is around 0.003mm. Despite being created with micron silica spheres rather than snow the sculpture is recognized by guinnessworldrecords.com. The task was achieved by Todd Simpson at Western University Nano-fabrication Facility, in Ontario, Canada.
Lore regarding snow children:
Breaking somewhat with the theme, these tales are not specifically about snow sculpture, but are decidedly some of my favorite pieces of (icy) lore which I have stumbled across:
Although there are different versions and adaptation of the magical folktale titled The Snow Maiden, according to .wikipedia.org it first appeared in Russian folklore in the 19th century. In the tale a childless couple, make a snow doll, which comes to life when they embrace it.
The child grew up very quickly and in what would seem to be only a matter of days became a tall, beautiful, and energetic girl that appeared to be around seventeen. But as winter became spring, the maiden became dull and her spark dwindled.
Hoping some fun would cheer her up, when a group of girls invite her for a walk in the woods, the snow maidens mother allows it. During the outing, for fun the other girls make a small fire and take turns leaping over it. When the maidens turn comes, she starts to jump, but due to her true nature was unable to withstand the heat and only got partway before evaporating completely.
You can read the full story at openlibrary.org, here: Tales and Legends from the Land of the Tzar: Collection of Russian Stories
From Europe, the lore of The Snow Child, is said have been popular among the writers of medieval and renaissance jest books. There are similar versions from France (The Child of Snow) and Germany (The Ice Child) In this story a merchant who’s livelihood keep him away for many month’s at a time, lives with his wife in a cottage by the shore. One day after he returns from a particularly long voyage, he is greeted by his wife and an infant child. He is surprised to see the newborn baby, since he was at sea for nearly a year.
In explanation the wife claims that the child is a miracle and says,”One winter’s day while returning home from church I slipped on the ice and fell into a snow bank. Nine months later I gave birth to our Snow Child. Is he not a wonder!”
The merchant seemed to except the new family member and he admitted that the child was a wonder, for he had no color. His hair and his skin were as white as snow.
Many voyages and seasons later, on a hot summer’s day, the merchant announced to his wife that he would be going to the market in the next village and offered to take the snow child along for the experience. But when the merchant returned, he was alone.
After the anxiety ridden mother inquired about her snow child, the husband responded that something awful had occurred. He said, “We were walking across a broad meadow in the hot sun, and he…” the merchant hesitated before continuing, “And he melted.”
The Snow Daughter and the Fire Son, from Andrew Lang’s Yellow Fairy Book in 1889, is said to be adapted from a tale of the Armenian people living in Bukovina and Transylvania.
In the tale, a childless woman admires a row of icicles and sighs as she tells her husband, “I wish I had as many children as there are icicles hanging there.” As the husband agrees, an icicle falls into the woman’s mouth and having swallowed it, she jokes that perhaps she will have a snow child after all.
Not long after that the woman gave birth to a little girl that seemed as white as snow and as cold as ice. The little maid thrived, although she hated the warmth of fire and the heat of the summer. It seemed to her parents that the colder she was, the happier she was.
One day while the girl frolicked in a snowstorm, her parents sat by the fire, talking about her extraordinary behavior, and the wife was struck by a flying spark to which the woman jests, “I wish I had given birth to a Fire Son!”
As she said the words, another spark from the fire flew into her lap to which the woman jokes, “Now perhaps I shall give birth to a Fire Son!”
Shortly thereafter the woman does give birth again. This time to a boy, who screams when he is not kept quite close to the fire.
The siblings avoid each other as they grow up, since they can’t bear each other’s temperatures. But when their parents pass away, they decide to go out into the world together. In order to tolerate one another, they wear thick fur coats and for the first time in their lives are quite happy in each other’s company.
Eventually, the Snow-daughter marries a king. He builds her a house of ice, and makes her brother a house surrounded by furnaces, so that they can both live in comfort. The only problem was that the perpetual heat in which the brother lived, made his body so increasingly hot, it became dangerous to go too close to him.
Later when the king tries to hold a feast and the brother arrives, he has grown so hot that no one can bare to be in the same room as him.
Angered by his party’s disruption, the king yells at the brother,.
The brother, looking deceivingly repentant, offers to leave and embraces the king in a hug, burning him up, and enraging the sister.
She flew at her brother and a fight began. Soon people, attracted by the noise, hurried to the spot, but they only saw the sister melting into water and the brother burned to a cinder.
Interested in more winter tales?
Check out americanfolklore.net
Due to its ease of manipulation, snow has been used for many types of sculptures including representations of intriguing decorations, buildings, and creatures both real and imaged. It would seem that your only limited by your imagination.
Although building snow people today is often thought of as being a simple and fun winter activity, throughout the ages snowmen have had a compelling, often weird, yet wondrous role in society. We may never be able to pinpoint that first frosty effigies construction, but it seems plausible to say that, for as long as there have been humans in the snow, they have probably been sculpting it.
I want to thank you for your continued support. I hope that you enjoyed this post! Stay safe and keep being awesome.