Was ist los in Franken? – Christmas Markets 2016!

Reiterlesmarkt in Rothenburg (Photo: Rothenburg Tourism)

Reiterlesmarkt in Rothenburg (Photo: Rothenburg Tourism)

ANSBACH, Germany (Nov. 18, 2016) Christmas in Germany holds a certain magic, be it in the romantic historical markets, the tasteful decorations of the cities with garlands, lights and magnificent Christmas trees, or the typical German seasonal customs that make the darkest time of the year shine bright. Almost every town or village in Germany hosts an Advent or Christmas market.

Historically, the Christmas markets in the German-speaking part of Europe date back to the late Middle Ages. One of the oldest markets, the “Strietzelmarkt” in Dresden, dates back to 1434; the best-known markets in southern Germany are the popular Nürnberg Christkindlesmarkt or the Reiterlesmarkt in Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

The markets in southern Germany often feature a nativity scene, a crèche or crib with Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus, ox, donkey and sheep. The booths offer items like “Nussknacker” (carved nutcracker soldiers) and Zwetschgamännla (figures made of decorated dried plums and nuts, specific to Nürnberg). Some booths offer traditional decorations, holiday trinkets and tree ornaments hand-crafted from wood, tin or straw. The smaller markets are often run by volunteering residents, like members of the local sports clubs, fire department or Kindergartens; these smaller markets serve as a fundraising opportunity while fostering the community spirit.

Kinderweihnacht (Photo: Steffen Oliver Riese)

Kinderweihnacht (Photo: Steffen Oliver Riese)

Anyone who has strolled through a German Christmas market will likely remember the tantalizing aromas and fragrances wafting through the air. The scents of “Gebrannte Mandeln” (roasted candied almonds), the fresh-baked “Lebkuchen” and “Magenbrot” (traditional gingerbread-type cookies), or “Christstollen” (a sweet yeast bread filled with candied fruit and raisins) mix with the savory aroma of grilled Bratwurst served in a bun. Visitors often warm up with hot chocolate, Glühwein or Eierpunsch. Glühwein is a hot mulled red or white wine, while Eierpunsch is an eggnog-style warm alcoholic drink. The children’s version of Glühwein is a sweet, warm fruit juice drink called Kinderpunsch and contains no alcohol. Also very popular is the “Feuerzangenbowle,” a hot drink made of sugar cone melted and caramelized over red wine.

The larger Christmas markets in the big cities are usually open daily during the whole advent season, but some of the small and special ones are only open one or two weekends, depending on the size of the town. Visitors are encouraged to use public transportation, as parking spaces may be sparse and the hot drinks can be potent.


The markets listed below are just a few examples for the many markets going on in the area during the holiday season:

Small Advent & Christmas Markets 2016

 

Christkindlesmarkt Nürnberg (Photo: Roland Berger)

Christkindlesmarkt Nürnberg (Photo: Roland Berger)


Advent & Christmas Market Highlights 2016

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