Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Lifestyle: Christmas At The Traditional German Markets

German Christmas Market Leipzig

Over the last few days, I went home to Germany and it was the weekend celebrating the first Advent, meaning there are only three more to go until it's Christmas Eve time. Germans love a traditional Christmas and for some, including me, the pre-period leading up to the 24th December is the most exciting time of the year.

The first advent marks the opening of the famous Christmas Markets and for the next couple of weeks, people will come together to get into the festive mood and celebrate one of Germany's oldest religious traditions.

Weihnachtsmarkt in Leipzig
Christmas Markets In Germany
Dresden Striezelmarkt Germany
Dresden Nutcracker Christmas Market

Though I'm very happy to see that parts of my culture are taken over by other countries such as Belgium and the UK, I find that hardly nowhere are the markets as beautiful, magical and authentic as they are at home. Usually hold in medieval market squares surrounded by old churches, town halls and restored Renaissance houses, the markets give you that special feeling of Christmas. It is already frosty cold, most likely minus degrees, snow has covered the roofs and you can see your breath when you exhale. These are the perfect conditions to go to the markets.

|Christmas Markets: Food, Food, Food|


Christmas is the time to celebrate the harvest of the year and to eat and celebrate. Germany makes no exception and in my culture, mulled wine, gingerbread and oranges are the food symbols of December. I know it sounds a bit weird but Christmas Markets are in the first place a treasure trove of food. You usually go there when it gets dark, which is around 3:30-4pm and then you eat most of the time. You drink hot mulled wine to keep you warm, chew a hard gingerbread heart, indulge in candied apples and in between changing food stalls, you look at all the amazing wooden crafts.

People drink their hot beverages out of personalised market mugs (there's a 5 € fee) which you can keep afterwards as a little souvenir. The Dresdner Hand bread, a fresh from the oven hot filled bread, as well as Langos are traditional savoury dishes served at the markets. Candied apples, chocolate coated tea cakes, quark dough balls and fruits, as well as candy floss and gingerbread hearts are for sweet tooth lovers.

Ginger bread and sweets
Langos Christmas Markets
Germany Christmas Markets in Dresden
                                 

|Christmas Markets: A Place For Fun And Entertainment|


So food and getting drunk are two good reasons for visiting the markets. Another one is that the markets are a fantastic place for fun and entertainment - most likely there's a fun fair with a scooter (dodgems), a wheel and other rollercoasters at the end of the food stalls. If you're not a fan of fun fairs, then there are stalls selling Christmas gifts, small concerts by the Christmas pyramid and nativity plays. In the middle of every market is a big pyramid with candles and scenes from the nativity play to remind people of the religious purpose and idea of Christmas.

Christmas Tree on the Altmarkt in Dresden
Pyramid at Dresden Christmas Markets
Christmas Time in Dresden
Nutcracker Leipzig Christmas Markets
Stalls at the Leipzig Christmas Market

Hope you enjoyed today's festive post. Have you been to the German markets yet? What's your favourite thing from the markets? I think mine is to enjoy the atmosphere of happy people, eating Langos and sweets and to listen to our Christmas songs. Let me know what you think :)

Till next time,

xx CAZ xx

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PS: Pictures are taken from the Christmas Markets in Leipzig and the Strizelmarkt in Dresden (one of Germany's oldest markets 580 years this year!).
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