Contributed photos

Wilton High School German students have been busy this winter learning language and about history, customs and traditions.

As local stores began stocking up on gingerbread and other German culinary delights, students learned about the cultural origins of this Lebkuchen (gingerbread), which dates back to the Middle Ages, and the small northern Bavarian city of Nuremberg, Germany.

Gingerbread houses originated in Germany in the 16th Century and became most famous with the popular fairy tale Hansel & Gretel, published by the Grimm Brothers in 1812.

In fact, Germany is known as castle country and has a very famous road called the Maerchenstrasse — the fairy tale road — which is a popular tourist destination. On this road, visitors can visit very scenic destinations and follow the path that the Grimm Brothers took to collect and write their fairy tales.

Students virtually visited this fairy tale road and learned about the link between the Grimm fairy tales and the famous German-American Walt Disney, who adapted many of them into the films.

Students had a chance to see how fairy tales have been adapted and modernized firsthand when they attended the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center on Dec. 8, and saw a contemporary version of Humperdinck’s Hansel & Gretel opera.

As a culmination to this cultural and linguistic unit on the house and family, students in German I and II designed gingerbread houses and wrote stories in German to go along with them.

The gingerbread houses were displayed at Wilton High School on Dec. 21, and the school had the opportunity to vote for their favorite houses.

First place went to Andrew Calabrese, Drew Herlyn, Caroline Coffey, Bridgette Wall and Olivia Dexter.

Second place went to Michal Ninyo and Emilie McCann.

Third place went to Sarah Moran, Maxwell Downing, Nicole Saxon and Tess Nobles.