Every year, German Christmas markets explode onto the holiday scene right before Christmas, marking the beginning of Advent. These Christmas markets are the product of a centuries-old, rich German Christmas traditions where regular markets were active throughout the year.
In the face of long winter nights, old Christmas markets lasted a couple of days with traders peddling their wares to passersby. A lot of these products include nutcrackers, delicacies, handicrafts and other products like ornaments and decorations.
Today’s German Christmas markets also perform the same function of selling spectacular pieces of art from glass balls to wooden figures. And, depending on the city or town, a Weihnachtsmarkt or Christkindlmarkt can last up to four weeks.
One of the oldest German Christmas markets is the market of Dresden, also known as the Striezelmarkt. It is especially known for its bakery products and is named after the Stollen, a piece of sweetcake bread popular around Christmas.
Another popular Christkindlmarkt is the one in Berlin, which attracts more than four million visitors every year. The Berlin market crafts its niche through its innovative products on top of the traditional gifts and decorations that have made small town markets famous.
Christmas markets in Berlin also shine through with window displays at famous department stores and the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche church which forms the backdrop to many of the Berlin markets.
Another German Christmas market worth mentioning is the one in Munich. Munich markets date back to the 14th century, with the first recorded market in the 1640s outside the Frauenkirche church.
Dubbed the “Nikolausmarkt,” the Munich Christmas market specializes in the Bavarian delicacies that feed the region, along with other specialties from nearby states. A sampling of delicacies includes pancakes, roasted chestnuts, and spicy wine. Added to the Christmas market is the Krippenmuseum which is one of Munich’s largest nativity museums that re-enacts the Nativity scenes with neat precision.
One final German Christmas market is the one in Augsburg, which has a special event attached to it unlike any other with its “Angel Play” program that features a play performed by some of the town’s residents. The town selects participants out of a pool of young women that are judged based on their gracefulness and artistic tendencies.
Another special thing about the Augsburg market is that it has its own Christmas pyramid that feeds Glühwein spice wine to its residents.
Other Christmas markets worth mentioning are in Nuremberg, Cologne, and many other major German cities. You will also find some neat little and cozy markets in towns and villages throughout Germany, some of which have their own unique flair.
All in all, German Christmas markets are festive occasions that hold the unique traditions of the towns they are in. From nutcrackers to bakery goods, all of that feel-good stuff can be had at these markets. And…
Remember to drink the infamous Glühwein when you’re there. It is THE Christmas drink and therefore shouldn’t be missed. ;-)