“Zwetschgemännle” made out of dried Prunes

Zwetschgenmännchen, making dolls out of plums

For decades the “Zwetschgenmännle”, which are popular figures from dried Prunes, can be found at the colorful world of the Christkindlesmarkt. There are over 350 different figures – from “Nackerte” (Naked) to “Schlotfeger” (Chimney sweeper) to Lovers. The repertoire ranges

German Christmas market, Christkindl market
Christkindl market

The production of the figures is just as time-consuming as exhausting. It can take an hour to make a plum-man or woman, or even longer in special cases. As holding skeleton wires are used, which are inserted into a birch wood disk. Dried prunes serve as legs and arms, figs form the belly. For the head walnuts are used, as smooth as possible, so it is easier to paint a face. Put on a pointed hat – you already have the “Nackerten” or naked man.

Not only little men, also women figures are made out of Prunes

There are hundreds of Gnomes and bass Violin players, Guitarists and Pianists, Cooks and Waiters, Mushroom pickers, Pastors, and even Devils etc. The characters are nine to 22 centimeters tall, cost three to 18.50 euros and gathers on the display tables of the Christmas booths.

History of the Zwetschgemännle in the change of time

It is said, the Zwetschgemännle have been invented in the 18th century by a Nürnberg by a wire-puller who wanted to make children happy. He had nothing but wire and a plum tree in front of the house, so he made little Prune figures of it. The children could eat these, which is no longer the case nowadays. “Not suitable for consumption” is now written on signs of the Zwetschgenmännle huts.

Zwetschgenmännle Huts (by Wikimedia)
Zwetschgenmännle Huts (by Wikimedia)

The Prune figures hardly need care, occasional dusting should be enough. When the body turns grey, it is not mold, but fructose. It can be quickly removed with a brush and alcohol.

Caring for the Zwetschgenmännle is believed to pay off. There is a saying: „Hosd an Zwetschga im Haus, gäid dir es Geld und Gligg ned aus.“ Which means “If you have Plums in the house, you will never run out of money”

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