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  • Jasper Danz

The Tradition of Christmas Markets


As the frosty winter sets in, people visit Christmas markets, markets with stalls decorated with twinkly lights, and a good atmosphere. A Christmas market is a market with a Christmas theme. Christmas markets date back to the late Middle Ages and were first held in the German- speaking parts of Europe and many parts of the Holy Roman Empire. This included many eastern regions of modern France. The Christmas markets used to be called “Saint Nicholas-markets". They were held during the 4 weeks of advent. The markets were made of lots of different stalls. Later in the 19th century they named it the “Christkindlmarkt”, after Jesus. In the mid- 1990s, many cities in Europe had made their own Christmas markets, featuring attractions like ice rinks and Ferris wheels, thus becoming more consumer oriented. Some other popular attractions at Christmas markets are the nativity displays, handcrafted wooden Nutcrackers, candied or roasted almonds and Lebkuchen (a type of soft gingerbread). There are also stalls where you can drink mulled wine, or eat a type of festive bread called the “Christstollen”, which has candied fruit, like raisins, in it. There are also festive cookies called “Plätzchen”, they come in lots of different shapes, sizes and flavours. The Christmas markets have been held for a few centuries now. Even though Christmas markets originated in Europe, they have now spread all across the world. Here are a few major markets in cities in different countries: 


Germany: Augsburg, Dresden, Erfurt, Frankfurt, Nuremberg and Stuttgart 

Austria: Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Linz and Graz 

France: Strasbourg and Alsace 

United Kingdom: Lincoln, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds and Manchester 

United States: Chicago, Denver and Tulsa 


The most popular Christmas market is the one in Nuremberg. It is one of the oldest and best-known ones as well. It is known for its bratwurst and gingerbread hearts and its handcrafted goods. The stalls usually all get set up in the first week of advent and are mostly made from wood, decorated with lights and pine twigs. 

Christmas markets were invented to stock up for the winter, to buy presents and bring a bit of light into the dark months. The largest Christmas market is in Vienna. Christmas markets are not just places for shopping but also to meet people like friends and family. Christmas markets are different from normal markets because of the atmosphere. They smells like cinnamon and mulled wine and you can hear Christmas carols and music being played. The closest Christmas market to the German School London is the not all too big market in Kingston Upon Thames. 

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