CHRISTMAS MARKETS IN GERMANY
In many towns in Germany and in Austria, Advent is usually ushered in with the opening of the town's Christmas Market or Weihnachtsmarkt, often also called Christkindlmarkt or Christkindlesmarkt.
Generally held in the town square and pedestrian zones, the market combines food and drink in the open air, shopping and pageantry as well as tradition. On opening night and, in some towns, every night, onlookers welcome the Christkind, or Christ child, in the form of a golden-haired angel played by a local youth.
Some of the most popular items at the Market are the Nativity Scene (also known as a crèche or crib); Zwetschgamannla (figures made of decorated dried plums); Nussknacker (carved Nutcrackers); Gebrannte Mandeln or candied, toasted almonds; assorted cookies like Lebkuchen and Magenbrot (both forms of soft gingerbread); Christstollen or Stollen, a sort of egg bread with candied fruit; and not least, Gluhwein, hot mulled wine (with or without a shot of brandy) to keep the body going in the cold winter air.
Many other homemade crafts and toys, books, and (in recent years) more or less useful gadgets can be found at a Christkindlmarkt.
The most famous Christmas markets are held in the cities of Nuremberg, Dresden, and Rothenburg ob der Tauber,
making them very popular tourist stops. The Nuremberg and Dresden markets draw each year about two million, the Stuttgart market attracts more than three million visitors. Other well known markets are held in Cologne and Bonn.
German immigrants to America brought the Christmas celebrations with them, and there are some Christkindlmarkt events held in the United States as well.
A large Christmas market is held in Birmingham, England, with visiting traders from its twin city of Frankfurt.
Kris Kringle, an American name for Santa Claus, is derived from Christkindl.
Retrieved from Wikipedia.org, the Free Encyclopedia
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