Are gnomes irish

Are gnomes irish DEFAULT

by Krystyl FarmerIreland is chock-full of picturesque landscapes and ancient ruins, but it is also steeped in myths and legends passed down from generation to generation. Every year on March 17 we commemorate the death of  St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. He drove out all the snakes from the island and transformed himself and a companion into deer to evade capture, among other things. These stories are generally accepted as historical but are unable to be authenticated; they are legends about St. Patrick. While St. Patrick is probably Ireland’s most iconic legend, stories still swirl about The Little Folk, aka fairies, a group containing  any number of mythological creatures including gnomes, Sidhe, Will-O’-the-Wisps, elves, sprites, and brownies, etc.

Brownies are 20-36 inches tall, will remain invisible until they want you to see them, and are originally from Scotland but have since emigrated along with the Scottish peoples. It is said each house in Scotland used to have its own Brownie. They naturally attract the attention of children, and will entertain the little ones by telling them stories or teaching them games. Some myths tell of helpful brownies turning into mischievous and troublemaking boggarts when they are not left some type of appreciation for their work.

Some fairies are darker than we typically imagine them; more malevolent species are the bogie, clurichaun, and the pooka which is a shape shifting creature. Bogies are typically more mischievous than harmful.  Clurichauns are a little more difficult to explain because there is much more mystery surrounding them. Leprechauns and clurichauns are small by all accounts, from 6 to 24 inches tall and contrary to Hollywood’s depiction of them, they wear a red coat and hat–this is to distinguish them from “trooping” fairies as they are “solitary” fairies. Some accounts depict leprechauns as turning into clurichauns at night so they can sneak into cellars and drink all the beer. Most works tell of leprechauns constantly banging away at a shoe in their lap. It is said they are always busy with this because fairy folk dance their shoes off.

On the lighter side are descendants of a mythical super-race of people who perfected the art of magic and sailed from the North to Ireland and settled there, the Tuatha de Danann. The Tuatha set their ships on fire upon reaching the Emerald Isle, a signal to the existing people that they were there to stay. They conquered existing tribes until finally an invading force, the Milesians, smote them. The Tuatha were allowed to remain alive but had to retreat underground where they now live out their immortal lives as the mysterious Sidhe (pronounced,  ‘shee’).

From the Pixar movie, Brave, you may remember Merida’s encounter with the Will-O’-the-Wisps. Ignis Fatuus, which means “the foolish fire,” are generally seen hovering over swamps and marshlands. In the movie Merida follows the wisps to change her fate. In real-life, she wouldn’t have been so lucky. Wisps are said to be spirits of those who can’t move on, leading weary travellers off the common path to their doom. They look beautiful glowing against the darkness of the night but don’t let their appearance fool you. Wisps are known throughout England and can be seen on land or at sea.

Selkies, or seal people, are fascinating creatures as you will see when watching Universal’s movie, Song of the Sea. These beings cover themselves with sealskin while in their animal form and hide the skin somewhere safe while they are in human form. Men used to take selkie wives by finding the sealskin of a fair maiden and hiding it so she could not find it and therefore could not return to the sea. Selkie wives were sought after for their motherly knowledge and understanding of keeping the household. Despite being a wonderful wife and mother, if she ever found her skin she would abandon man and child to return to the sea, her true love.

You may think that these magical creatures are few and far between but the large amount of books and movies available in the Heartland Library Cooperative  based on their existence shows that someone has been doing their research–even if the research contradicts itself. The origins of fairies are convoluted and mysterious, Tinkerbell says a fairy is born when a baby first laughs but Katharine Briggs, noted author on all things fairy,  says  fairies are believed to be either fallen angels or spirits of the dead. There are tons of websites with information, blogs devoted to firsthand encounters, and even occult worshipping of fairies. For the serious scholar, the library has many books with information on fairies and even learning the art of ancient fairy magick. For the fanciful, the library has computers that you can use to visit a website for a “leprechaun watch” or borrow DVDs like “Tinkerbell” and “Darby O’Gill and the Little People.” I leave you with this quote from John Lennon- “I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now?”


Leprechaun vs. Gnome: Battle of the littlest

Even on St. Patrick's Day, it seems like gnomes are gaining an edge over leprechauns.

 The little green guys who got their start as Irish folklore fairies busily storing gold coins in pots of gold used to be all over the place -- advertising, movies and children's cereal.

 But now the prank-loving green men seem to have been replaced by their kinder, red-hatted cousins: the gnomes.

 Historically known as earth dwellers, gnomes came into popular culture above the dirt, as garden gnomes. They found international fame with the 2001 release of "Amelie," in which a garden gnome is spirited to farflung locations. That, in turn, inspired Travelocity's Roaming Gnome ad campaign. More recently, "Gnomeo and Juliet" took the gnome's star power to a new level.

 Leprechauns, as befits their mischievous history, have been shoved aside into the realm of horror in some just plain bad movies.

 It's hard to say why these two tiny men have seesawed in pop-culture cachet.

 "It's almost due to chance that some of these creatures come to the fore and some are almost forgotten," says Anatoly Liberman, a professor of German, Scandinavian and Dutch at the University of Minnesota.

Clearly, the two are itching for a fight to see which truly belongs in the pop culture pantheon. Let's see how they stack up:


A point for the gnomes. For a long time, gnomes weren't used in advertising. Who would want an earth-dwelling bearded man hawking their products? That all changed in 2004, when discount travel site Travelocity introduced its Roaming Gnome, their wildly successful salesman.

Leprechauns seem to have faded from view. The heavy-hitter, of course, is Lucky, the beleaguered trickster of General Mills' Lucky Charms, but he's getting old. Lucky was created in 1963 to appeal to children in TV ads and hasn't been able to stop running from voracious cartoon kids since. (When will he ever get to rest?)


The points here go to the gnomes, which generally are seen as happy, helpful and plucky in movies. The overlooked 1967 Disney gem "The Gnome-Mobile" and 1990's "A Gnome Named Gnorm" feature kind gnomes saving the day. This year's gnome movie offering is Touchstone's all-star animated comedy "Gnomeo & Juliet," a loose, garden-centric retelling of Shakespeare.

As for the leprechauns, the truly terrible 1993 B-movie "Leprechaun" was the first in a series of six campy, ridiculous and thoroughly unhorrifying films that culminated in 2003's straight-to-DVD release of "Leprechaun 6: Back 2 tha Hood."


Leprechauns have the clear advantage: Notre Dame's Fighting Irish swear by their mascot, simply named Leprechaun. He is a fixture at Notre Dame games and around campus. Notre Dame students who want to be the leprechaun have to battle through a monthlong competition that includes mock rallies, school trivia and -- perhaps most important -- the ability to grow the Leprechaun's characteristic chinstrap beard.

Gnomes don't represent any sports teams, universities or high schools. A 300-pound wooden gnome serves as the unofficial mascot at one of Yale University's 12 colleges.


Leprechauns have the edge. They don't have a holiday of their own, but it's no surprise that they've become the unofficial mascot of St. Patrick's Day. Revelers dress in the stereotypical green coat and trousers, red beards and buckled hat. It bears little resemblance to the leprechaun of legend, but the popularity has made him an enduring symbol.

Strictly speaking, gnomes don't have a holiday. But there is a similar creature in Scandinavian folklore: the tomte (or tomten), a bearded little man who guards farms at night while families are asleep. He isn't afraid to harass and possibly beat offenders. For his hard work (and to keep it happy), the tomte is rewarded with a bowl of porridge on Christmas Eve.


This category is hands down for the gnomes. Gnoming has become a pastime for pranksters looking for a bit of diversion on vacation. The gnomers "kidnap" a gnome from a lawn and take it on vacation with them. They snap photos of the gnome in front of landmarks and take the gnome and photos back to the owner as proof of the little guy's escape "back into the wild."

Leprechauns, of course, have inspired the legend of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Maybe when someone actually finds one, leprechauns will regain some of their lost cachet.

Alex Gaterud is a U of M student on assignment for the Star Tribune.

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Diminutive spirit in Renaissance magic and alchemy

This article is about the fictional humanoid type of creature. For the desktop environment for UNIX-like operating systems, see GNOME. For the garden ornament, see Garden gnome. For other uses, see Gnome (disambiguation).

Heinrich Schlitt Gnom mit Zeitung und Tabakspfeife.jpg

Gnom mit Zeitung und Tabakspfeife (English: Gnome with newspaper and tobacco pipe) by Heinrich Schlitt (1923)

GroupingDiminutive spirit

A gnome[1] is a mythological creature and diminutive spirit in Renaissance magic and alchemy, first introduced by Paracelsus in the 16th century and later adopted by more recent authors including those of modern fantasy literature. Its characteristics have been reinterpreted to suit the needs of various story tellers, but it is typically said to be a small humanoid that lives underground.[2]

Diminutive statues of gnomes introduced as lawn ornaments during the 19th century grew in popularity during the 20th century and came to be known as garden gnomes.



The word comes from Renaissance Latingnomus, which first appears in A Book on Nymphs, Sylphs, Pygmies, and Salamanders, and on the Other Spirits by Paracelsus, published posthumously in Nysa in 1566 (and again in the Johannes Huser edition of 1589–1591 from an autograph by Paracelsus).[3][4]

The term may be an original invention of Paracelsus, possibly deriving the term from Latin gēnomos (itself representing a Greek γη-νομος, literally "earth-dweller"). In this case, the omission of the ē is referred to as a blunder by the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). Paracelsus uses Gnomi as a synonym of Pygmæi and classifies them as earth elementals. He describes them as two spans high, very reluctant to interact with humans, and able to move through solid earth as easily as humans move through air.[5]

The chthonic or earth-dwelling spirit has precedents in numerous ancient and medieval mythologies, often guarding mines and precious underground treasures, notably in the Germanicdwarfs and the Greek Chalybes, Telchines or Dactyls.[2] The gnomes of Swiss folklore follow this template, as they are said to have caused the landslide that destroyed the Swiss village of Plurs in 1618 - the villagers had become wealthy from a local gold mine created by the gnomes, who poured liquid gold down into a vein for the benefit of humans, and were corrupted by this newfound prosperity, which greatly offended the gnomes.[6]

In Romanticism and modern fairy tales[edit]

The English word is attested from the early 18th century. Gnomes are used in Alexander Pope's "The Rape of the Lock". The creatures from this mock-epic are small, celestial creatures which were prudish women in their past lives, and now spend all of eternity looking out for prudish women (in parallel to the guardian angels in Catholic belief). Other uses of the term gnome remain obscure until the early 19th century, when it is taken up by authors of Romanticist collections of fairy tales and becomes mostly synonymous with the older word goblin.

Pope's stated source, the 1670 French satire Comte de Gabalis by Nicolas-Pierre-Henri de Montfaucon de Villars, the abbot of Villars, describes gnomes as such:

"The Earth is filled almost to the center with Gnomes or Pharyes, a people of small stature, the guardians of treasures, of mines, and of precious stones. They are ingenious, friends of men, and easie (sic) to be commandded (sic). They furnish the children of the Sages with as much money, as they have need of; and never ask any other reward of their services, than the glory of being commanded. The Gnomides or wives of these Gnomes or Pharyes, are little, but very handsom (sic); and their habit marvellously (sic) curious."[7]

De Villars used the term gnomide to refer to female gnomes (often "gnomid" in English translations).[8]Modern fiction instead uses the word "gnomess" to refer to female gnomes.[9][10]

In 19th-century fiction, the chthonic gnome became a sort of antithesis to the more airy or luminous fairy. Nathaniel Hawthorne in Twice-Told Tales (1837) contrasts the two in "Small enough to be king of the fairies, and ugly enough to be king of the gnomes" (cited after OED). Similarly, gnomes are contrasted to elves, as in William Cullen Bryant's Little People of the Snow (1877), which has "let us have a tale of elves that ride by night, with jingling reins, or gnomes of the mine" (cited after OED).

One of the first movements in Mussorgsky's 1874 work Pictures at an Exhibition, named "Gnomus" (Latin for "The Gnome"), is written to sound as if a gnome is moving about, his movements constantly changing in speed.

Franz Hartmann in 1895 satirized materialism in an allegorical tale entitled Unter den Gnomen im Untersberg. The English translation appeared in 1896 as Among the Gnomes: An Occult Tale of Adventure in the Untersberg. In this story, the Gnomes are still clearly subterranean creatures, guarding treasures of gold within the Untersberg mountain.

As a figure of 19th-century fairy tales, the term gnome became largely synonymous with other terms for "little people" by the 20th century, such as goblin, brownie, leprechaun and other instances of the "domestic spirit" type, losing its strict association with earth or the underground world.

Cultural references[edit]

Modern fantasy literature[edit]

  • Creatures called gnomes have been used in the fantasy genre of fiction and later gaming since the mid-nineteenth century, typically in a cunning role, e.g. as an inventor.[11]
  • In L. Frank Baum's Oz series (created 1900 to 1914), the Nomes (so spelled), especially their king, are the chief adversaries of the Oz people. They are ugly, hot-tempered, immortal, round-bodied with spindly legs and arms, have long beards and wild hair, live underground, and are the militant protectors/hoarders of jewels and precious metals. Baum does not depict any female gnomes. Ruth Plumly Thompson, who continued the series (1972 to 1976) after Baum's death, reverted to the traditional spelling.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien, in the legendarium (created 1914 to 1973) surrounding his Elves, uses "Gnomes" as the initial, but later dropped, name of the Noldor, the most gifted and technologically minded of his elvish races, in conscious exploitation of the similarity with the word gnomic. Gnome is thus Tolkien's English loan-translation of the Quenya word Noldo (plural Noldor), "those with knowledge". Tolkien's "Gnomes" are generally tall, beautiful, dark-haired, light-skinned, immortal, and typically wise but suffer from pride, tend towards violence, and have an overweening love of the works of their own hands, particularly gemstones. Many of them live in cities below ground (Nargothrond) or in secluded mountain fortresses (Gondolin). He uses "Gnomes" to refer to both males and females. In The Father Christmas Letters (between 1920 and 1942), which Tolkien wrote for his children, Red Gnomes are presented as helpful creatures who come from Norway to the North Pole to assist Father Christmas and his Elves in fighting the wicked Goblins.
  • BB'sThe Little Grey Men (1942) is a story of the last gnomes in England, little wild men who live by hunting and fishing.
  • In C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia (created 1950 to 1956), the gnomes are sometimes called "Earthmen". They live in the Underland, a series of caverns. Unlike the traditional, more human-like gnomes, they can have a wide variety of physical features and skin colours. They are used as slaves by the Lady of the Green Kirtle until her defeat, at which point they return to their true home, the much deeper (and hotter) underground realm of Bism.
  • The Dutch books Gnomes (1976) and The Secret Book of Gnomes (1984), written by Wil Huygen, deal with gnomes living together in harmony. These same books are the basis for a made-for-TV animated film and the Spanish-animated series The World of David the Gnome (as well as the spin-off Wisdom of the Gnomes). The word "gnome", in this case, is used in place of the Dutch kabouter.
  • In the Warcraft franchise (1994 to present), particularly as featured in the massively multiplayer online role-playing gameWorld of Warcraft, gnomes are a race of beings separate from but allied to dwarves and humans, with whom they share the lands of the Eastern Kingdoms. Crafty, intelligent, and smaller than their dwarven brethren, gnomes are one of two races in Azeroth regarded as technologically savvy. It is suggested in lore that the gnomes originally were mechanical creations that at some point became organic lifeforms. In World of Warcraft, gnomes are an exile race, having irradiated their home city of Gnomeregan in an unsuccessful last-ditch effort to drive out marauding foes.[12]
  • In J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series (created 1997 to 2007), gnomes are pests that inhabit the gardens of witches and wizards. They are small creatures with heads that look like potatoes on small stubby bodies. Gnomes are generally considered harmless but mischievous and may bite with sharp teeth. In the books, it is stated that the Weasleys are lenient to gnomes, and tolerate their presence, preferring to throw them out of the garden rather than more extreme measures.
  • In A. Yoshinobu’s Sorcerous Stabber Orphen, the European concept of a gnome is used in order to introduce the Far Eastern notion of the Koropokkuru, a mythical indigenous race of small people: gnomes are a prosecuted minority banned from learning wizardry and attending magical schools.[13]
  • In Terry Brooks' Shannara series (created 1977 to 2017), gnomes are an offshoot race created after the Great Wars. There are several distinctive classes of gnomes. Gnomes are the smallest race. In The Sword of Shannara they are considered to be tribal and warlike, the one race that can be the most easily subverted to an evil cause. This is evidenced by their allegiance to the Warlock Lord in The Sword of Shannara and to the Mord Wraiths in The Wishsong of Shannara.
  • Terry Pratchett included gnomes in his Discworld series. Gnomes were six inches in height but quite strong, often inflicting pain upon anyone underestimating them. One prominent gnome became a Watchman in Ankh-Morpork as the force became more diversified under the command of Sam Vimes, with Buggy Swires appearing in Jingo. Another gnome in the series was Wee Mad Arthur a pest terminator in Feet of Clay.




The 2018 animated movie Sherlock Gnomes featured gnomish versions of several classic Sherlock Holmes characters.[15]

Derivative uses[edit]

Garden gnomes[edit]

Main article: Garden gnome

Historic garden gnomes on display at the Gnome Reserve in Devon, UK. The ornament on the left of the image was produced by Eckardt and Mentz in the late nineteenth-century,

By the late twentieth century the garden gnome had come to be stylised as an elderly man with a full white beard and a pointed hat.

After World War II (with early references, in ironic use, from the late 1930s) the diminutive figurines introduced as lawn ornaments during the 19th century came to be known as garden gnomes. The image of the gnome changed further during the 1960s to 1970s, when the first plastic garden gnomes were manufactured. These gnomes followed the style of the 1937 depiction of the seven dwarves in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs by Disney. This "Disneyfied" image of the gnome was built upon by the illustrated children's book classic The Secret Book of Gnomes (1976), in the original Dutch Leven en werken van de Kabouter. Garden gnomes share a resemblance to the Scandinavian tomte and nisse, and the Swedish term "tomte" can be translated as "gnome" in English.

Gnome-themed parks[edit]

Several gnome themed entertainment parks exist. Notable ones are:

  • The Gnome Reserve, at West Putford near Bradworthy in North Devon, United Kingdom
  • Gnomeland, at Watermouth Castle in Berrynarbor, North Devon, United Kingdom
  • Gnome Magic Garden, at Colchester, United Kingdom
  • Gnome Park, in Dawson, Minnesota, United States
  • The Gnome Village, at Efteling theme park in Kaatsheuvel, Netherlands
  • Zwergen-Park Trusetal, in Trusetal, Germany
  • Gnom's Park in Nowa Sól, Poland.

Gnome parades[edit]

Gnome parades are held annually at Atlanta's Inman Park Festival.[16] Numerous one-off gnome parades have been held, including in Savannah, Georgia (April 2012)[17] and Cleveland, Ohio (May 2011).[18]

Metaphorical uses[edit]

  • The expression "Gnomes of Zürich", Swiss bankers pictured as diminutive creatures hoarding gold in subterranean vaults, was derived from a speech in 1956 by Harold Wilson, and gained currency in the 1960s (OED notes the New Statesman issue of 27 November 1964 as earliest attestation).
  • Architect Earl Young built a number of stone houses in Charlevoix, Michigan, that have been referred to as gnome homes.
  • A user of Wikipedia or any wiki who makes useful incremental edits without clamouring for attention is called a WikiGnome.[19]

See also[edit]

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Gnomes
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gnomes.


  1. ^"Gnome". Oxford English Dictionary (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. (Subscription or participating institution membership required.)
  2. ^ ab"Gnome". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Archived from the original on 17 April 2008. Retrieved 12 March 2008.
  3. ^Paracelsus (1566). Ex Libro de Nymphis, Sylvanis, Pygmaeis, Salamandris et Gigantibus, etc. Nissae Silesiorum: Ioannes Cruciger.
  4. ^Hall, Manly P. (1997, 1964). Paracelsus: His Mystical and Medical Philosophy. Philosophical Research Society. pp. 53, 69–72, 74, 77–78. ISBN 0-89314-808-3.
  5. ^Lewis, C. S. (1964). The Discarded Image - An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature. Cambridge University Press. p. 135. ISBN .
  6. ^Guerber, H. A. (1899). Legends of Switzerland. Dodd, Mead & Co.. pp. 289–290.
  7. ^Montfaucon de Villars, Nicolas-Pierre-Henri (1680). The Count of Gabalis: Or, The Extravagant Mysteries of the Cabalists, Exposed in Five Pleasant Discourses on the Secret Sciences. Translated by Gent, P. A. London: B. M. Printer. pp. 29–30. OCLC 992499594.
  8. ^de Montfaucon de Villars, N.-P.-H. (1913) [1670]. Comte de Gabalis. London: The Brothers, Old Bourne Press. OCLC 6624965. Archived from the original on 13 May 2015.
  9. ^2007: Shadow on the Land, page 115
  10. ^2013: Gnomes and Haflings, page 120
  11. ^Clute, John; Grant, John (1999). "Elemental". The Encyclopedia of Fantasy. New York: St. Martin's Griffin. pp. 313–314. ISBN .
  12. ^Rossi, Matthew (23 April 2014). "Know Your Lore: Gnomes, the inheritors of the future". Engadget. Archived from the original on 31 July 2016. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  13. ^Mizuno, Ryou (2019). Sorcerous Stabber Orphen Anthology. Commentary (in Japanese). TO Books. p. 238. ISBN .
  14. ^[verification needed]
  15. ^"Sherlock Gnomes". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 5 December 2020.
  16. ^Paul, Péralte (16 April 2012). "Creating A World Record, One Gnome At A Time". East Atlanta Patch. Archived from the original on 24 September 2012. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  17. ^"Best Dressed Gnome Parade & Contest (adults & kids), Savannah". Southern Mamas. 2012. Archived from the original on 16 March 2013. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  18. ^Neff, Martha Mueller (18 May 2011). "5 ways for families to get close to birds". Archived from the original on 17 October 2013. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  19. ^Schiff, Stacy (31 July 2006). "Know It All, Can Wikipedia conquer expertise?". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on 30 September 2014. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
5 GNOMES caught on camera \u0026 spotted in real life

Are gnomes Irish?

Gnomes are known by different names throughout different parts of Europe - for instance: they are called 'barbegazi' in Switzerland and France, 'kaukis' in Prussia, 'leprechauns' and 'clurichauns' in Ireland, 'saunatonttu' in Finland, 'nisse' or 'tomte' in Scandanavia, and 'voettir' in Iceland.

Click to see full answer.

Hereof, what nationality are gnomes?

The first known garden gnomes were produced in Germany in the early 1800s. They were made out of clay. Gnomes first appeared in gardens in England in the 1840s, and from there their popularity began to take off. The first garden gnomes that were mass-produced also came from Germany in the 1870s.

Also, what are gnomes afraid of? Gnomophobia: The fear of garden gnomes.

Similarly, are gnomes evil?

Gnomes are generally considered harmless but mischievous and may bite with sharp teeth. In the books, it is stated that the Weasleys are lenient to gnomes, and tolerate their presence, preferring to throw them out of the garden rather than more extreme measures.

What does gnomes stand for?

Meaning. GNOME. GNU Network Object Model Environment. GNOME. General NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Oil Modeling Environment.


Irish are gnomes

The history of gnomes being used in gardens is longer than you might think. The tradition originated in the 1800s, and those original garden gnomes are far different than the plastic or plaster gnomes we know today.

A Short History of Gnomes

The first known garden gnomes were produced in Germany in the early 1800s. They were made out of clay. Gnomes first appeared in gardens in England in the 1840s, and from there their popularity began to take off.

Related Articles

The first garden gnomes that were mass-produced also came from Germany in the 1870s. The two big names in gnome manufacturing were Philipp Griebel and August Heissner, with Heissner becoming known around the world for his gnomes.

Unfortunately, the world wars wiped out most garden gnome production in Germany, and beginning in the 1960s, the plastic gnomes we know today came on the scene. These gnomes are campy and cartoonish, and many people don't like them.

In the 1980s, companies in the Czech Republic and Poland started to make gnomes and flooded the market with cheaper imitations of the German products.

The American company, Kimmel Gnomes, is one of the few manufacturers of clay and resin gnomes that are finished by hand and not mass-produced. People who want a gnome with some soul seek out these, which come in a variety of sizes and poses.

Why Gnomes

The history of gnomes also passes along the folklore and why you would want one in your garden. Gnomes are known as symbols of good luck.

Originally, gnomes were thought to provide protection, especially of buried treasure and minerals in the ground. They are still used today to watch over crops and livestock, often tucked into the rafters of a barn or placed in the garden.

A garden gnome adds a bit of whimsy and a connection to the old world, where farmers believed the good luck charm could help their fields yield more produce and protect them from thieves, pests and other problems. They were also thought to help gardeners in the night, which we all could use!

Gnomes in Folklore

The mythical gnomes in history were thought to live underground, and their name is thought to derive from a Latin word for earth dweller. They were popular in German fairy tales and were often described as old men who guarded treasure.

However, gnomes or similar creatures were also found in folklore from many different countries, where they went by different names such as Nisse in Denmark and Norway, Duende in Spain and Hob in England.

The Look of Gnomes

Gnomes generally were not described thoroughly in the stories, but garden gnomes produced throughout the world have the same general look, usually with a long, white beard, a red hat and simple clothes.

The female gnomes tend to have long hair, the same hat and a simple dress, and look somewhat like witches.

These days gnomes can be found in all sorts of different costumes and configurations, adding to the distaste felt by many who don't like these creatures. There are gnomes with kegs of beer, built in solar lighting, skiing gnomes, gnomes taking baths, and gnomes mooning onlookers.

While these are much different from the traditional intent of gnomes in the garden, if they give you a laugh they are serving their purpose and are a lot more fun than conventional garden statues.

Buying Garden Gnomes

There are many sources for mass-produced garden gnomes, but far fewer opportunities for finding high-quality, handmade gnomes. Here are some places to look for your perfect garden protector:

No matter where you shop for your garden gnome, know that you are following a rich history of people who have used gnomes for decoration, protection and to bring a bit of whimsy into the garden.

© 2021 LoveToKnow Media. All rights reserved.

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