The German Christmas market is a colorful German Christmas tradition that has spread to portions of North America and other areas of the world. Beginning in mid to late November, practically every German city of any size will have one or more Christmas markets on the local plaza, as well as in numerous other locations. These markets usually open at a time when it's still warm enough for people to wear clothes, but not so hot that you need a jacket and tie.
The markets feature vendors selling traditional German foods such as sausages, kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes), strudel, and ice cream. Some markets also have musicians performing classical music, while others have groups of people singing popular songs in the regional dialect. In larger cities with multiple markets, people can dress up like elves and put out a basket full of treats for children to pick through before deciding what to buy.
The markets are interesting places to visit with family or friends, especially if you're looking for something different to do on Christmas Day. You don't want to go to a restaurant or party where everyone is eating and drinking their way through Germany during this time of year - the markets are a great alternative that won't cost you anything except a few hours of your time.
The holiday season and Christmas markets go hand in hand, and Berlin has much to offer. These markets combine Christmas joy and German traditions, with a variety of vendors selling handcrafted presents, traditional German cuisine, and festive drinks.
Berlin's city center is beautifully illuminated during this time of year, with large-scale displays featuring trees, lights, and decorations that reflect the spirit of celebration. Visitors can experience Berlin's famous charm during its Christmas markets, which begin appearing around November 1 and run through January 6, 2019.
Besides the popular Mauerpark market, there are several others across the city. The most famous is the Kreuzberg market, which features an eclectic mix of artists and musicians along with traditional wooden toys and gifts. The Prenzlauer Berg market is smaller but also interesting with its vintage goods and local produce. There are many more, so check out all the information below to find out how to enjoy these vibrant markets.
A longing for tradition Many of the oldest Christmas customs, from the Christmas tree to the rituals of decoration to Advent calendars and gingerbread homes, have their origins in German-speaking Europe. Today, the Christmas market is gaining popularity. Its origins can be traced back to the 13th century when churches would sell holy relics such as bones and clothes from saints. These markets were often held outside the city walls in open fields then, like today's version, they would sell food and drink as well as gifts.
The term "Christmas" comes from the Latin Christus mas (mass for Christ) which in turn comes from the Greek kristos mass, meaning "mass for Christ". The word "Christ" itself comes from an ancient Hebrew word that means "anointed one".
During the Middle Ages, bishops established dates on which priests could celebrate Mass without risking punishment from church authorities. December 25 was chosen by Pope Clement VII as a date upon which to hold Mass because it was before the start of the Jewish holiday season and therefore wouldn't conflict with religious practices of any other faith. As Christianity became popular in Germany, France, and Italy, these countries' cultures began to influence how Christmas is observed today. For example, Germany's love of order leads to elaborate decorations and shops opening early with traditional German gifts. France's reputation for beauty has led to many depictions of Jesus during this time of year.
Visitors are drawn to about 300 traditional Christmas markets for a leisurely walk. The Stuttgart Christmas Market, with its 287 booths and a more than 300-year heritage, is one of the most beautiful in Germany and one of the oldest and largest of its type in Europe. It features more than 160 merchants selling gifts, food, wine, beer, and handmade products.
Other famous markets include those in Nuremberg, Berlin, and Munich. The latter two markets attract over 1 million visitors each.
In fact, the number of visitors to the Christkindlmarkt in Berlin has increased by almost 50 percent in the last 10 years! This makes it the best-selling market in Germany. In addition, it boasts some of the most innovative and attractive stands in all of Europe.
Berlin's market runs from 14 November to 24 December every year and closes early on 25 December because all the streets around it are closed off at night so people can shop in peace. There are also several smaller Christmas markets across Berlin including one in Mitte (Central Berlin) and another popular one in Kreuzberg (near Görlitzer Park).
Tickets for the Berlin market are available online or at the door. They cost between €10 and €25 depending on how many tickets you want to buy. Children under 12 go free.
Strings of bright electric lights adorn the Christmas tree. The Christmas tree is lit with actual candles in traditional households, but only under stringent conditions. More... German-style Christmas markets can only be found in metropolitan cities with a German-American heritage (Chicago, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, New York, etc.).
In Germany, Christmas markets have become popular over the last few years. They feature food vendors, musicians, and other entertainers - all around a small market square full of candlelit stalls, knick-knacks, and gifts.
The first recorded evidence that something like a Christmas tree existed in Germany comes from 1423. However, it was not until much later that it became popular. The early trees were probably decorated with eggs and fruit, and sometimes even gold or silver coins.
During the reign of Charles IV, the king of Bohemia, pine trees began to replace the oak tree used previously. The pine tree has been the main tree type for Christmas markets in Germany since then.
Today, most Germans celebrate Christmas on December 24th, but the holiday season starts earlier for those who live in the southern part of the country. Stores begin selling Christmas decorations in late August and early September and follow a Christmas market schedule, opening on the first weekend in October and closing after Easter.
Christmas is a federal state holiday in Germany, which means that employees have the day off work.
Capital City Christmas Markets, November 22-December 31, 2021. Berlin is unquestionably Germany's Christmas market capital, with over 70 marketplaces. Why not take a stroll around the Christmas Markets? They're a great way to get into the holiday spirit!
Germany has banned public gatherings of more than 2 people until further notice. This includes Christmas markets that are held outdoors on plot areas rather than in shopping centers. The markets have been found to be an ideal place for the spread of viruses such as COVID-19. Visit our COVID-19 blog post for more information.
Check out our guide to Europe's best Christmas markets for more ideas on what to do during your visit!