2. Dezember – Der Adventskalender
Starting around December 1, but often as early as mid-November, every larger city in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland has at least one Christmas market (Weihnachtsmarkt, Christkindlmarkt). Big cities have many Christmas markets.
On Christmas morning in 1772, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote a letter to a friend describing the Christmas market in Frankfurt am Main and his love of the season: “I love this time of year, the songs that one sings, the cold that has descended makes me completely content… As I went across the market and saw the many lights and toys, I thought of you…”
Germany is the original home of the Christmas market, a custom that has now spread across Europe and around the world. One of the oldest and most famous Christmas markets is the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg (Nürnberg), Germany. Dresden’s Striezelmarkt is also one of the oldest in Germany, dating back to at least 1434. There are large and popular Weihnachtsmärkte in Augsburg, Berlin (over 50!), Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Munich, Münster, Stuttgart, Trier, Vienna, Ulm, and Zürich/Luzern, plus smaller markets in many other towns all across German-speaking Europe. Germany alone now has more than 3,700 Christmas markets. (See the Christmas market Web links below.)
Berlin also features an annual Chanukka-Markt (Hanukkah Market) at the Jüdisches Museum (Jewish Museum) in December. (“Der Chanukka-Markt ist Marktplatz, Treffpunkt und Ausstellung zugleich.”) See the museum’s aktuell im Museum page for current exhibits.
For more about German Christmas markets (in German or English), see the links below.
AT THE GERMAN WAY
- Christmas from A to Z – German Christmas traditions and terms
- Advent – The Latin word means “arrival.” This custom begins on the first Advent Sunday around December 1.
- Photo Gallery: Christmas in Germany – Berlin – A visual tour of Christmas markets and other December sights in Berlin
- Christmas in the USA and Germany– A comparison chart
- German Christmas Carols – Popular carols with lyrics in German and English
- Barbarazweig – The legend and the Christmas custom
- Epiphany and the Sternsinger – January 6 in the Germanic Christmas tradition
- Erntedank (“harvest thanksgiving”) or Erntedankfest in Germany and Austria is different from the American Thanksgiving tradition.
- St. Nicholas – The many German St. Nicks
- Thomas Nast created the modern Santa image.
- The Christmas Pickle Ornament – Fact or fiction?
- Silent Night (Stille Nacht) – Our “Silent Night” page has the true story and related links.
- Holidays and Celebrations in Austria, Germany and Switzerland
- Glass Ornaments – a history
ON THE WEB
- Berlin – Gendarmenmarkt – One of the most popular of Berlin’s many Christmas markets (“WeihnachtsZauber auf dem Gendarmenmarkt”).
- Berlin – Weihnachtsmärkte – Links to more than 30 Berlin Christmas markets!
- Dresden – Striezelmarkt – Dresden claims its Christmas market is Germany’s oldest.
- Christkindlesmarkt – Nürnberg – The Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg
- Christkindlmarkt – München – Munich has several Christmas markets in various parts of the city, the largest being the Christkindlmarkt at the Marienplatz in the heart of the city.
- Christkindlmarkt – Wien – Vienna’s Christkindlmarkt – in English or German
- Swiss Weihnachtsmärkte – Christmas markets in Basel, Bern, Luzern, and Zurich.
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