Christmas Market in Nurenberg (Bavaria)
December in Nürnberg/Bavaria- Germany one of the oldest Christmas-Markets, called Chriskindlesmarket, opens
its stalls on the main place of the City. Nuremberg is regarded as Europe's oldest Christmas city. It's a medieval
city with an ancient part you will be enthusiastic about. Loaded with ancient history: like the first printing
of books in very old times, the first watch (called Nürberger egg), and a castle-- all real and old.
The "Christkindlesmarkt" in Nuremberg
has survived until the present day, (the oldest remarks about the market are dated from 300 years ago) mainly as
a market for the sale of toys and other presents for the Christmas festival. Over the last decades the arrangement
and decoration of the market have become particularly attractive so that it has won renown and popularity far beyond
the bounds of the city itself. Only the colours red, white and the green of the x-mas trees are allowed.
The streets leading from the station to the market
are attractively decorated with white poles bearing Christmas symbols, garlands of fir and pretty lights. At the
centre of the market square is a crib, its wooden figures telling the Christmas story. Every visitor to the Christkindlesmarket
enjoys a pause to look at it.
The market stalls are decorated with branches of
fir and lit by lanterns. Most sell Christmas decorations, gold-foil angels, little prune figures, made of dried
fruit and crepe paper, the famous "Zwetschgenmännle", spicy Lebkuchen cakes and toys. The opening
of the market is a festive occasion and enjoys great popularity. At dusk the Nuremberg "Christkind",
who is newly elected every two years, recites a prologue from the balcony above the entrance to the Frauenkirche,
accompanied by festive music.
As in the past years, about 185 booths
and stands will be erected on the Hauptmarkt. In about one third of all stands specialities of Nurenberg will be
offered, such as Rostbratwürste (fried sausages from the roast), Lebkuchen (spicy gingerbread), Glühwein
(mulled wine) and Früchtebrot (rich fruit loaf).
As it has always been, the greater part of the supply will be toys, arts and crafts articles, Christmas-tree decoration,
(no plastic allowed), Christmas cribs and candles. By now, around 150 events (trombone choirs, children's singing,
etc.) have been planned for the duration of the market.
As soon as the fruit and vegetable stalls are removed
from the main market square at the beginning of November and the knocking and hammering starts as the craftsmen
erect the stalls, which are at first brown and undecorated, the citizens of Nuremberg prepare themselves for the
oncoming storm. On the Friday before the first Sunday of Advent, Nuremberg's pre-Christmas spectacle, which goes
by the name of the Christchild's Market, is opened.
This pre-Christmas market can
be traced back to the middle of the 16th Century. Historians, however, currently name 1628 as the first year of
the market for which official records exist, as there is an unambiguous piece of evidence from that year. There
is a 19 cm oval wooden box painted with flowers in the German National Museum which shows market scenes.There is
a list of notices for stallholders from 1737. This shows that nearly all of Nuremberg's craftsmen were represented
in the "town of stalls". In those days 140 people had the right to ply their wares. In 1998 there were
190 stalls on the Christchild's Market, and the number continues to rise.
The market lost a lot of its importance at the
end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. In 1933 a new ceremony, where a "gold foil angel"
(a girl who is every year elected for being the Christmas-child) recited a prologue up at the church's tower, choirs
of children sang and church bells pealed, lent a supernaturally romantic tone into a new area of the event.
The to-be-elected girl is chosen for these virtues:
long hair, being able to stand up in a very high tower and being able to memorize very long poems.
In the evening the strolling thru the lighted X-mas
market gives a nostalgic wonderful feeling back to the childhood time- and some mulled wine and a ginger bread
are a MUST. Even better if some soft snowfall covers all up, the stalls and place looking like powdered sugar.
Nevertheless, the market is also a big business- and you will see folks from all around the world coming buying
In Japan, courses-- including flights-- are offered:
"How to decorate a real European, (say German) X-mas -tree". They learn some Christmas songs and make
a stroll over the market, try a Bratwurst, all inclusive. Australia, USA and Portugal and Spain tourists are the
most numerous- and the Santa-Clauses who come here in Germany and Switzerland on 6th December have a lot to do
by explaining and giving information--- they all speak English!
Forget the business and enjoy the pix and links
to the homepage of this old and traditional Christmas-Market.
(In Europe this time is called "Advents-Zeit,
and is measured by four candles, with one lit each Sunday starting 4 weeks before the 24th of December: the Advent
wreath. The wreath is made of bound fir twigs to which four candles are attached and some red ribbon bound around.
Candies and nuts and mandarins are eaten during the lighting of the candles.)