Glühwein & Räuchermännchen – The German Christmas market

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Is it really necessary to blog about Christmas markets in November? For those who only get into the Christmas mood once the festivities are imminent, this article might not be the right thing to read right now. However, if you are anything like me – happily observing the progress of the Christmas market being built up around the corner – you probably can’t wait to visit the first Christmas market this year.

Each year during the Advent season and well through the Christmas holidays you will find the same image in any German city and village. Grateful for the opportunity to escape the grey coldness of winter, people surge through the rows of warmly lit and decorated wooden huts. Holding a cup of “Glühwein” (typical hot wine punch) in one hand, and the hand of a loved one in the other, they stroll from one stand to the next to have a look at the goods offered.

Of course, most people know that nowadays these goods are just as likely to be “made in China” as any other product we buy every day. In fact, German Christmas markets have long since become an international tourist attraction, and they represent an important part of the economically crucial Christmas trade. However, you can still find traditional craftsmanship and regional products, especially on small, local Christmas markets.

Traditionally, the markets at the beginning of winter served as an opportunity to stock up on food and other goods for the cold months of the year. During the 14th century, however, manufacturers of toys, basket makers and confectioners started to sell their wares in the Christmas markets, thus making them the precursors to the Christmas markets we know today.

If you are coming to Germany during the Christmas season, visiting at least one Christmas market should be on your to-do list. If you are unsure where to find a market near to where you’re staying, you can consult the following website: http://www.christmas-markets-germany.de/

[Deutsch]

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