Christmas Market History

on November 9th, 2017 by

GTHS Blog

A Christmas market, also known as Christkindlmarkt, Christkindilmarkt, and Weihnachtsmarkt, is a street market associated with the celebration of Christmas during the four weeks of Advent.

These markets originated in Germany, but are now being held in many other countries. The history of Christmas markets goes back to the Late Middle Ages in the German-speaking part of Europe, and in many parts of the former Holy Roman Empire that includes many eastern regions of France. The Christmas markets of Bautzen were first held in 1384. Dresden‘s Striezelmarkt was first held in 1434. Frankfurt was first mentioned in 1393, Munich in 1310 and Augsburg in 1498. In Austria, Vienna’s “December market” can be considered a forerunner of Christmas markets and dates back to 1298.

In many towns in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, Advent is usually ushered in with the opening of the Christmas market or “Weihnachtsmarkt”. In southern Germany, Switzerland and Austria, it is called a “Christkind(e)l(s)markt” (German language, literally meaning “Christ child market”). Traditionally held in the town square, the market has food, drink and seasonal items from open-air stalls accompanied by traditional singing and dancing. On opening night at the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, and in some other towns, onlookers welcome the “Christkind” (originally boy Jesus, but often depicted as an angel-like girl), acted out by a local child.

 

Popular attractions at the markets include the Nativity SceneZwetschgenmännle (figures made of decorated dried plums), Nussknacker (carved Nutcrackers), Gebrannte Mandeln (candied, toasted almonds), traditional Christmas cookies such as Lebkuchen and Magenbrot (both forms of soft gingerbread), Bratwurst, and for many visitors one of the highlights of the market: Glühwein, hot mulled wine (with or without a shot of brandy), or Eierpunsch (an egg-based warm alcoholic drink). Both help stave off the cold winter air which sometimes dips below freezing. More regional food specialties include Christstollen (Stollen), a sort of bread with candied fruit in Saxony, and hot Apfelwein and Frankfurter Bethmännchen in Hesse.

 

Famous Christmas markets are held in the cities of AugsburgDresdenErfurtFrankfurtNuremberg and Stuttgart, making them popular tourist attractions during Christmas holiday season.The Nuremberg and Dresden markets draw about two million people each year; the Stuttgart and Frankfurt markets attract more than three million visitors. The two most visited Christmas markets in Germany are to be found in Dortmund with more than three and a half million visitors of 300 stalls around a gigantic Christmas tree creation that stands 45 metres tall, and in Cologne with 4 million people. Additionally, Berlin claims over 70 markets, which open in late November and close just after Christmas.

taken from Wikipedia.org

Come join us for our Christmas Market on December 2nd. 2017 from 10am-6pm here at the German-Texan Heritage Society.