What is a gnome?
Gnome also known as a Tomte or Nisse. Not many people have seen them because they are very shy and live in the woods. A tomte is a mythological creature from Scandinavian folklore today typically associated with the winter solstice and the Christmas season. It is generally described as being no taller than three feet, having a long white beard, and wearing a conical or knit cap in red or some other bright color.
The tomte is one of the most familiar creatures of Scandinavian folklore, and he has appeared in many works of Scandinavian literature. With the romanticisation and collection of folklore during the 19th century, the tomte would gain popularity. The tradition of tomte/nisse is also associated with Christmas. It is known as a gift bearer and is considered one of the Scandinavian versions of Santa Claus.
Brief history of gnome
In the 1840s the farm's nisse became the bearer of Christmas presents in Denmark, and was then called julenisse (Yule Nisse). In 1881, the Swedish magazine Ny Illustrerad Tidning published Viktor Rydberg's poem "Tomten", where the tomte is alone awake in the cold Christmas night, pondering the mysteries of life and death. This poem featured the first painting by Jenny Nyström of this traditional Swedish mythical character which she turned into the white-bearded, red-capped friendly figure associated with Christmas ever since. Shortly afterwards, and obviously influenced by the emerging Father Christmas traditions as well as the new Danish tradition, a variant of the tomte/nisse, called the jultomte in Sweden and julenisse in Norway, started bringing the Christmas presents in Sweden and Norway, instead of the traditional julbock (Yule Goat).
Tomte / nisser often appear in Christmas calendar TV series and other modern fiction. In some versions the tomte are portrayed as very small; in others they are human-sized. The tomte usually exist hidden from humans and are often able to use magic.
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