A Christmas market as the name indicates is a street market associated with the celebration of Christmas during the four weeks of Advent.
The history of Christmas markets goes back to the Late Middle Ages in the German speaking part of Europe. These market are believed to have originated in Germany, Austria, South Tyrol (Italy) and Alsace (France) but are now being held in many other countries.
Today popular Christmas Markets are held in United Kingdom, Germany, France, Belgium, Austria, Italy, Ireland, Switzerland, Denmark, Luxembourg, Holland, Spain, Poland, Sweden, Finland and some other parts of Europe, USA and Canada.
I am sure you might be wondering which is the oldest Christmas Market in the World ?
Some of the world’s oldest Christmas markets come from Germany. Dresden’s Strietzelmarkt was first held in 1434, Christmas markets of Bautzen was first held in 1384, Frankfurt Christmas Market was first held in 1393 while the Munich Christmas Market believed to be the oldest Christmas Market in the World was first held in 1310.
However the Vienna’s “December market” can be traced back to 1294, but it wasn’t so much a Christmas Market as a December Market that point of time and became a Christmas market in later years.
In German, Christmas Markets are also known as Christkindlmarkt, Christkindlesmarkt, Christkindlmarket, and Weihnachtsmarkt.
These Christmas Markets, generally held in the town square and adjacent pedestrian zones, have large number of stalls that sell food, drink, and seasonal items, Christmas gifts, Christmas decorations and ornaments, handmade toys, etc.
Popular attractions at the market include the Nativity Scene (a crèche or crib), Zwetschgenmännle (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)….
Christmas Market Dates and Opening Timings :
Most Christmas Markets start in the last week of November and run through to Christmas Eve or a day or two before. They are usually open every day from 10 am to about 8 or 9 pm.
In 2016 most Christmas Markets are expected to start in 3rd week of November.