Christmas Markets

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Home Page > Features > Germany > Christmas Markets

Germany's Christmas Markets:

Among Best Holiday Festivals in the World

The Germans take their Christmas celebrations very, very seriously, just as Americans do.  But while Americans tend to focus on Christmas as a time of major Christmas Market in Nuremberg economic activity (and therefore have commercialized the holiday extensively), the Germans have kept their celebrations closer to the religious roots.  Consequently, the focus of their celebrations is community-building, centered normally around the church.

The Christmas Markets are known by two names -- Weihnachtsmarkt(en), literally "Christmas Market", or Christkindlmarkt, or "Christchild Market".  Although I'm guessing, it appeared that the former term was more commonly used in Protestant-dominated areas, and the latter in the Catholic areas, especially Bavaria.  The Markets are just that -- markets.  They specialize in holiday gifts and wares such as wreaths, trees, decorations, and knick-knacks.  Traditional German festival food -- like bratwursts, crepes, and french fries -- are sold, along with regional holiday specialties.  The most common drink sold is mulled sweetened wine called glühwein, or "glowing wine," served warm.  Often, the wine is served in ceramic mugs that have the town's name printed on them.  Some people buy the mugs as a souvenir.

Each town and city had one, although the size of the city often determined how long it was held.  Larger cities will host it throughout all of Advent, a five-week period, beginning on the first Friday during the first week of Advent.  Smaller cities may only open the market on the weekends.  Towns and boroughs will typically only host the markets on one or two weekends in Advent, establishing a rotation with other neighboring towns.

Use the below map to access one of the Christmas Market pages.  Clicking on the colored regions will take you to the top of the page.  Clicking on the city names will take you directly to the bookmarks.  The pictures are also hyperlinked to the bookmarks (obviously not all markets are pictured).

Christmas Market, Duesseldorf, Nordrhein-Westfalen Click on a colored region to visit various Christmas Markets Nuremberg Christkindlmarkt, Franconia (Bavaria)
Bonn Christmas Market, Nordrhein-Westfalen Straubing Christkindlmarkt, Lower Bavaria
Odenwaelder Weihnachtmarkt, Michelstadt, Hessen Regensburg Christkindlmarkt, Lower Bavaria
Weihnachtsmarkt, Schwaebisch Gmuend, Baden-Wuerttemberg Rosenheimer Christkindlmarkt, Upper Bavaria
Ulm Weihnachtsmarkt, Baden-Wuerttemberg Augsburg Christkindlmarkt, Upper Bavaria

Page last updated September 01, 2006 .  (C) 2004 Tom Galvin

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