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Christmas Market in Nuremberg

Christmas Market in Nuremberg

The Franconian metropolis Nuremberg, with no less than 500,000 residents, is Bavaria's second largest city. Alongside its medieval castle, its World Toy Fair, its Bratwursts and its Lebkuchen, it is the place of one of the world's largest Christmas Markets, the Christkindlesmarkt.

Held since probably the middle of the 16th century – and with certainty since 1628, when it was first mentioned – it takes place every year on  Hauptmarkt square. Traditionally, the Christmas Angel (“Christkind”) unveils the magic on the Friday before the first Advent Sunday. The idea that the Christkind brings children their Christmas gifts (and not Santa Claus) goes back to the protestant reformer, Martin Luther (1483-1546). By then, children received gifts from St Nicolas on December 6th. Protesting the tradition, Luther decided to transfer this to Christmas eve, telling his children it was "Holy Christ" who had brought their presents upon his birthday. In Nuremberg, this became a common tradition by the end of the 16th century already.

Through the years, this fictional gift-giver took on form for the purpose of opening the Christmas Market celebrations. It was most likely the medieval German tradition of Christmas plays, with an Angel of the Annunciation as the main character, which gave the Christmas Angel its earthly appearance. As angels of all sorts began to be depicted as female and not only male, the Christkind also took on a feminine appearance. That is why today a young woman is chosen to play the part of the Nuremberg Christkind.

In Canada several Christmas markets in the German tradition are held every year. The State of Bavaria Office even participates in the German Christmas Market in Quebec city.

Learn more: www.christkindlesmarkt.de