We can find giants everywhere in our culture, take for example the books ''Gulliver's Travels'' by Jonathan Swift and ''The Selfish Giant'' by Oscar Wild, movies such as ''The Big Friendly Giant'' and even in Giant and Big-Heads folk festivals (in Spain and Portugal). Giants are mythical creatures that have always been in our lives.
Discover everything about the legends of the giants, what their origin is and many other interesting facts.
When we talk about giants, we refer to the enormous magical creatures with human-like appearance, not to be mistaken with people who suffer from gigantism, a rare condition that causes abnormal growth.
They have great strength, so much so that they can create canyons in the mountains with only one footstep, and in popular legends and stories, they are infamous for their lack of empathy towards humans. They are solitary creatures, not very clever, but they tend to hunt in groups.
Sometimes, when we talk about giants, people think about other creatures such as Cyclops, titans, and orcs. In fact, some records list the cyclops, or the jötnar from Norse mythology, as different types of giants.
We can find giant histories all over the world! The Sumerian, Greek, Norse and Indian mythologies all mention mythical creatures, with a human appearance and enormous size.
There are also mentions of giants in America, both in the North and in the South, and in the following article, we plan on exploring this mystical world of strange creatures.
How much do you know about giants?
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When the European conquerors reached the Americas, many of them reported sightings of magical creatures. Christopher Columbus, for example, claimed to have seen mermaids and Hernán Cortés spoke about seeing giants. According to historian Díaz del Castillo, elders from Latin American tribes told him that in ancient times incredibly big people walked the face of the earth, and the legend even suggests that Cortés had sent the King of Spain a femur bone the size of an adult man.
Christianity is quite strict when it comes to the existence of giants because they are not compatible with its belief system. The Bible does mention them in The Book of Genesis, where we can find the words '' There were giants in the earth in those days''. The same holy book tells the story of David that defeated Goliath by hurling a stone from his sling and hitting the giant in the centre of his forehead. Giants are also mentioned in The Book of Samuel and the first Book of Chronicles.
There are even traditions that say that Saint Christopher, patron saint of drivers, was a giant that helped travellers cross rivers, and legend goes that after Jesus reincarnated in a young boy, the giant carried him across the river on his shoulders.
After this experience, the giant converted to Christianism which leads him to his death as emperor Decius ordered his execution on account of prophetizing Christianity.
Although the giants' appearance is similar to that of humans, they have one difference when it comes to their hands. Giants have six fingers on each hand, as well as six toes on each foot. The Bible has references of this detail as well, and it coincides with testimonies from Russia, South Africa, United States, and Ireland that claim remains of six-fingered giants were found.
Since ancient times, the belief that giants existed was justified mainly by the presence of enormous structures all over the world, constructions that to this day don't have an explanation. According to this theory, giants are meant to have built the Egyptian pyramids, the moai on Easter Island as well as other megalithic structures ( the Antequera dolmens of Malaga, the ones in Matarrubilla and Pastora, Sevilla).
In the book ''The Adventures of Don Quixote de la Mancha'' by Miguel de Cervantes, we are introduced to the story of a man so obsessed with chivalric romances that he loses his head. In one of his most famous scenes, Don Quijote (modern spelling of the name) comes across the windmills of Castilla La Mancha and attacks them thinking they are giants.
It sounds absurd, no doubt, but a couple of centuries later, former United States president George W. Washington took part in the Siege of Fort Loudoun, during the French and Indian War, and left quite an interesting statement behind. In the book ‘Historic Haunts of Winchester: A ghostly trip through the past,’ Washington states that his objective was to defend his people against ''gigantic Amerindians, who were very common in those times.'' In 1848, Abraham Lincon, another American president, visited Niagara falls and spoke about ancient giants who used to live in those lands.
Thanks to social media, many people have been able to share pictures, and news about the discovery of such giants and some of them have even been identified, such as the giants in the Tapalpa mountains, in Mexico. The majority of these images, however, come from a website called Worth1000 (which has now joined the DesignCrowd Creative Community), where digital artists show their latest projects. The first series of montages showed people standing next to gargantuan skulls, thigh bones, and ribcages.
There have been times when the images became so popular around the web that National Geographic had to intervene and deny their authenticity.
On Christmas, everyone around the world knows that Santa Claus, a chubby old man, is responsible for bringing children gifts. In the Basque Country in Spain, however, a giant called Olentzero is the one in charge of this job.
This autonomous community is full of giant legends, such as the ones about Jentilak and Mairuak, and about the coal merchant giant Olentzero.