So what is a Moravian, anyway?

The word Moravian can simply refer to someone from Moravia, now a small province of the Czech Republic on the border with Poland. More often, though, it refers to members of a Protestant Christian religious sect that arose in that part of the world in the 1400’s. The Moravians’ disputes with the Roman church predated Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation of 1517 by roughly 100 years, and that made them prime targets for religious persecution. In the violent years of the Counter-Reformation, they were forced to disperse, eventually coming back together to form a community on a large private estate in Saxony (Germany) called Herrnut in about 1725. Religious differences soon drove the community apart though, and many members of the church fled to America, where they settled in Pennsylvania (not far at all from hermit-loving New England) in the mid-1700’s. This is presumably where their American cookie-making tradition started, though nowadays Moravians are practically synonymous with Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and that’s where most of the packaged Moravian cookies come from.

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