A gnome is a woodland mythical creature featured in German and European folklore. Gnomes are known by many different names across Europe. In Denmark and Norway , Gnomes are called Nisse, In Hungary they are known by the name Mano, in Turkey they use the term Cuce.
According to legend, they are small beings that dwell deep in the Earth and protect its riches. They are usually older gentlemen with beards wearing pointed red hats. They allegedly surface to do chores in the garden by night like digging, weeding and planting (I need a few of those!). The first clay versions of Gnomes were made in Germany in the 1800s and are considered symbols of luck and good fortune when placed in the home or garden.
They have become such popular garden accessories that they have been the targets of many pranks. Organizations such as the Italian Garden Gnome Liberation Front encourage the kidnapping of garden Gnomes worldwide. This organization wants to stop oppressive gardening by freeing enslaved Gnomes around the world. The practice of stealing Garden Gnomes to release them back into the wild is known as "Gnome hunting." Some Gnomes have even been kidnapped and taken on trips around the world in an effort to draw attention to the cause.
In recent years the Gnomes have become quite the pop culture icons, appearing in television advertising, movies and on the Internet. Today’s modern Gnomes are usually crafted from cement, fired ceramics or plastic resin and are made to be weather proof and last a very long time. Collecting Gnomes has become a popular pastime for many people. A good way to start your collection is to look for Gnomes engaged in activities that you also enjoy such as gardening, fishing or just relaxing. Check out the stories behind each Gnome that is added to your collection to learn a little about its personality and if you find some that really do work in the garden and around the house let me know, I want to come steal them to help me get some of my work done!