12/08/2012

Christmas market traditions in Germany

Kids playing in an ice rink in Moers.

Christmas tree in market in Augsburg
Old-world Christmas markets in Germany bring about a feeling of nostalgia for yuletides gone by.  They support various local businesses and artisans, and they bring the community together in the spirit of celebration; not of commercialism, but celebration of family. 

Moers resident and guest contributor Thorsten Schröder shares his knowledge of this festive event happening all around Deutchland right now.

"The history goes back to the Middle Ages in the German speaking part of Europe. The Dresden Christmas market (East of Germany), first held in 1434, is one of the oldest Christmas markets.  Last year I went there – and it´s very nice.  Dresden has three markets, one of them is a middle ages market. Up to two million visitors a year come to Dresden.  Also very famous is the “Christkindlmarkt" in Nürnberg (South of Germany).  Generally held in the town square and adjacent pedestrian zones, the market sells food, drink, jewelry, things like wooden cribs, candles, and other seasonal items from open-air stalls accompanied by traditional singing and dancing. 




Lebkuchen stall in Augsburg, DE
Typical food is, for example, “Gebrannte Mandeln” (candied toasted almonds); Lebkuchen (form of soft gingerbread); Christstollen (Stollen; the Dresden stolen is very famous); but also Bratwurst and Glühwein (hot mulled wine - with or without a shot of brandy or rum).  Often children can use carousels or a skating rink like in Moers.  We have also a traditional puppet show.  The christmas market in Moers exists for 36 years.  The stalls stand on a central parking space in the old city near Moerser Castle.  What do I need at a perfect chistmas market?  The aroma of roasted almonds, figures of Santa Claus, snow, romantic light like in Moers at the “Candle Evening” (no electric light, only candles), and a cup of mulled wine."

If you aren't packing your bags for Bavaria right now, then you probably already live in Germany!  Have a warm cup of Gluwein and some fresh-baked gingerbread for me!  

Gentleman enjoying some good German food in Augsburg.