Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Christkindlesmarkt

Germany is definitely a magical country during Christmas time. The country’s first Christmas market dates back to 1434. Today, over 2500 Christmas markets take place in picturesque settings throughout Germany. The Christmas markets usually begin around the last week of November and go until the first week of January. Decorated booths are fully stocked with handcrafted gifts such as wooden nutcrackers and smokers, toys, Nativity scenes, and various other favorites. The aroma of freshly baked goods and traditional German food fills the air. Typical favorites include roasted almonds, Lebkuchen (gingerbread), grilled sausages and gluhwein (mulled wine). A number of German cities are infamous for their Christmas markets, such cities include:

DRESDEN, IN EASTERN GERMANY (Open 11/24-12/24)
• Striezelmarkt, Germany’s oldest Christmas market, founded in 1434
• It’s inimitable appeals comes from its Christmas tree, Pflaumentoffel(prune men) and the tallest Christmas pyramid in the world at 14 meters high
• Offers various treasures such as, carved wooden items, blue printed articles and pottery, intricate handmade lace, hand-blown Christmas tree ornaments,gingerbread, and genuine Dresden Christstollen
NUREMBERG, IN SOUTHERN GERMANY (Open 11/25-12/24)
• The Christmas Angel opens the market on Hauptmarkt square in the old quarter
• Offers a medieval atmosphere with delicious aromas of gingerbread, Nuremberg bratwurst and gluhwein, as well many Christmas decorations and gifts
• Has an additional children’s market with a traditional carousel, a Ferris wheel and a steam train
KOELN, IN WESTERN GERMANY (Open 11/21-12/23)
• Takes place at an impressive backdrop with Koln’s Cathedral in sight
• Stalls with little red roofs sell various gifts and sweets, novelty items include spekulatis (thin sliced biscuits), candles and soaps shaped like the Koln Cathedral, and hot-sliced punch
• Visitors can watch marzipan and “tree cakes” being made or watch the local craftsmen at work
HAMBURG, IN NORTHERN GERMANY (Open 11/21-12/23)
• Offers both a historical and traditional atmosphere in several squares of the city’s center
• See Roncalli’s Circus artists serving hot punch on the town hall square and the five traditional “fantasy boats” anchored along Jungfernstieg with homemade Christmas cookies, magic shows and jugglers
The markets transform Germany into a Christmas wonderland that creates a magical atmosphere for all of its visitors. I would suggest visiting a Christmas market and experiencing the festivities it has to offer you. I was fortunate enough to visit the Nuremberg Christmas market three years ago and experienced a festive event that I will never forget. I went to the Christmas market on the perfect wintery day, with heavy snowflakes filling the air and beautiful Christmas lights and decorations surrounding the area. It was definitely a picturesque and festive sight!

3 Comments:

Blogger Kristin said...

It is a shame that I won’t be able to be in Germany this year for the Christmas festivities. It sounds like you had a picture perfect moment around Christmas time in Germany. I love snow and I love Christmas, so I am a little jealous. That picture really does look amazing. I think Christmas lights are so beautiful! Hopefully I will get a little glimpse of the holiday season because I will be going right after New Year’s. I heard that is gets pretty crazy in some parts of Germany, especially Munich! I am praying for the best.

11/02/2005 06:02:00 PM  
Blogger LauraL said...

I thought I would take the time to give you a lesson in German on some of the popular holiday words.
Froehliche Weihnachten- Merry Christmas
Sankt Nikolaus- Santa Clause
Weihnachtsgeschenk- Christmas present
Der Tannenbaum- Fir tree (Christmas tree)

11/04/2005 04:41:00 PM  
Blogger Shayna said...

Thanks for posting about something that’s around super close to when I will be arriving in Germany!! Since Frankfurt is our first stop, starting on January 2nd, hopefully the markets will still be up there. I asked my professor for the trip and she said that some of the Christmas markets will be up all the way through January which is exciting. Although I don’t celebrate Christmas it will be fun just to be involved in something that’s a big part of the culture. Also it sounds like a great please to get some cute and inexpensive souvenirs and gifts to bring home. Are the markets like some other European and Middle Eastern markets where you haggle for the price of the items? And should a tourist be worried that they won’t want to bargain with me?

11/22/2005 01:05:00 AM  

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