German Christmas Markets
German Christmas markets are very popular. They date back to the 14th or 15th century. Earlier, when these markets were set up, the idea was to bring cheer during the dark and cold months. People would visit these markets to buy stuff they would stock for the coming months. As the years passed, more things were offered in these markets. Keeping up with the tradition of exchanging gifts during Christmas, people would come to the Christmas market to buy presents. As years passed, more and more things got added, and today’s Christmas markets look a lot grander and have a lot more to offer than their predecessors.
What can one expect in a Christmas Market?
Christmas markets are typically set up in city centers. The area is brightly lit. Stalls by local artisans are a highlight. Plenty of stalls with wares by local artists and handmade goods ranging from toys, lamps, and decor items are put up.
Live shows and performances are also a common feature of Christmas markets.
Food stalls selling local delicacies like mulled wine (called Glühwein in German), fruit-based drinks for kids (called Kinderpunsch), German Sausages (called Bratwurst), potato pancakes (called Kartoffelpuffer), etc., are the most crowded. Culinary specialities from other countries are also put up in many Christmas markets.
In addition, there are rides for kids, and depending on the city you are in, you can find an ice skating rink, elaborate decorations with lights, etc.
In essence, Christmas markets bring the city centers alive and lift spirits. In the winter, when the sun sets early and the days are cold, these markets bring much-needed cheer and energy to otherwise dull and ordinary days.
When is the Christmas market set up, and when does it last?
German Christmas markets usually open on the Friday before the first Advent(the first Advent is the Sunday, four weeks before Christmas) and close one or two days before Christmas Eve (i.e. 24th Dec).
More information about the Christmas Market in each city can be found on the official website of the city. The programs are usually available as a download, which you and use for planning your visit.
If you are in Germany around Christmas time, you must not miss this magical experience. So, plan a visit with your family, friends, or colleagues. You are sure to have a great time!
Check out more pictures taken in shops, supermarkets, and Christmas Markets in Germany here.
Also, read my article about things you can buy this Christmas season from shops and supermarkets in Germany.