Nuremberg Christmas Market

Nuremberg Christmas Market
The Nuremberg Christmas Market (Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt) is one of the largest Christmas markets in Germany and one of the most famous in the world. It is also one of the oldest Christmas markets (the first written evidence dates back to the early 17th century, but the market itself is much older). The market opens on the Friday before the first Sunday of Advent. The opening ceremony is presided over by the Christkind (Christ Child).

The Christkind is one of the oldest traditions of the Nuremberg Christmas market. The word “Christkindlesmarkt” itself can be translated literally as “Christ Child Market”. The Christkind was promulgated by Martin Luther, a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation, to discourage the figure of Saint Nicholas. The Christ Child is the gift-bringer in many countries of Central Europe.

The Christkind isn’t an infant boy as one might think. This Christmas character is impersonated by a young woman with curly blond hair. She is dressed in white and gold, with long sleeves reminding of angel wings and a tall golden crown. Since 1969, the Christkind has been selected every other year among local girls between the ages of 16 and 19. Thousands of competitors submit their applications. Finalists are chosen by popular vote, then the jury chooses the winner.

The Christkind opens the Nuremberg Christmas market with a prologue speech from the balcony of the Frauenkirche (“Church of Our Lady”) located on the city’s main square (Hauptmarkt) where the Christmas market is held. Besides making her speech every Friday evening, the Christkind makes appearances in schools and children’s hospitals, speading holiday cheer.

The grand opening of the Nuremberg Christmas market attracts thousands of visitors every year, locals and tourists alike. Of course, this is not the only attraction the market has to offer. Several dozen stalls offer a variety of Christmas gifts and treats to suit any taste and budget. Here you can taste famous Nürnberger Rostbratwurst (Nuremberg grilled sausages), Lebkuchen (traditional German baked Christmas treat, similar to gingerbread), spicy mulled wine (Glühwein in German),etc.

Merchants and artisans offer beautiful Christmas decorations, handicrafts, knitwear, clothes and accessories, jewelry, and a variety of traditional Christmas souvenirs such as nutcracker dolls and Zwetschgenmännle. Zwetschgenmännle (“Plum People”) are little figures made of prunes, they are believed to bring wealth and good luck.

Since 1998, Nuremberg’s sister cities and friend cities have provided booths with local specialties at the market. They include Antalya (Turkey), Atlanta (USA), Gera (Germany), Glasgow (Scotland), Kavala (Greece), Kharkiv (Ukraine), Krakow (Poland), Nice (France), Prague (Czech Republic), San Carlos (Nicaragua), Shenzhen (China), Skopje (Macedonia), Venice (Italy), Vienna (Austria), and the French region of Limousin.

As far as entertainment is concerned, the Nuremberg Christmas market has a lot to offer. Here you can find numerous attractions including Santa’s house, fairground rides, a Christmas bakery, etc. Carolers create an unforgettable festive atmosphere.

Nuremberg Christmas Market


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