The Advent season is eagerly awaited by many Germans as they enjoy the anticipation and preparation for the celebration of Christmas. Clusters of wooden huts selling festive food and hand-made crafts can be found all over Germany.
The first Christmas markets, originally built around churches, took place in the 17th century. Today, the most popular items for sale are Christmas stollen, nativity figures, straw stars, tinsel, baubles and hand made wooden decorations. Mulled wine, or Glühwein usually made with red wine along with various mulling spices and sometimes raisins is a must when at the Christmas market.
Munich, Bautzen and Frankfurt are among the cities that held Winter or December markets as early as the 14th century. Dresden’s Striezelmarkt is considered to be one of the oldest Christmas markets in the world, dating back to the early 15th century.
In some parts of Germany Christmas markets are known as Christkindlmarkt (literally: Christ child market), or Adventsmarkt. The number of Christmas markets in Germany lies between 1500–3000, with some markets on for one day only, while others last several weeks.
Stollen — loaf-shaped cake with dried fruit
gebrannte Mandeln — candied almonds
Kartoffelpuffer — potato pancake
Lebkuchen — similar to gingerbread
Glühwein — mulled wine
Eierpunsch — egg nog
Apfelwein — mulled cider
Nussknacker — nutcracker figurines used as decoration
Schwibbogen — arch-shaped candle holder
Christmas markets in the UK
Christmas markets are now firmly established as a quintessential part of the Christmas season in the United Kingdom as well.