Today is Sunday, December 13th. The 3rd Advent.
Today I have another German tradition for you: the Christmas Market. The roots of this tradition go back to the 14th century. Since the early 20th century they are an inherent part of the pre-Christmas or Advent time.
I know, this tradition is on its way around the world and is already established in several cities in the UK and the US. Maybe also in other parts of the world, too. In case, you have similar markets in your region, please tell me a bit in the comment section below.
A Christmas market is held in many (if not nearly all) cities during Advent time. Smaller cities hold their Christmas market only for a weekend or a few days including one weekend. Others even start a few days before the first of Advent and last until December 23rd. And some cities have even more than one Christmas market, i.e. in several neighborhoods. Even some churches organize Christmas markets or important special places of excursion, like museums or castles.
But, what is a Christmas market? It’s a bit like a regular farmers market, but they offer Christmas related goods. So, you can usually buy Christmas decoration stuff including table-cloth and napkins, wooden toys, hand-made wood pieces from the region Erzgebirge, located between Germany and Czech Republic (a famous city here is Seiffen), spices, incense sticks, honey, candles and so on. When I was a child, there were stands offering exotic fruits, like bananas, pineapples, coconuts, oranges, mandarin oranges and of course apples, nuts and pears.
You can also buy some food. Usually local sports clubs or other social clubs sell some food to raise money for their work. They sell i.e. hot sweet chestnut, pea soup, green cabbage with cooked mettwurst (a smoked coarsely kind of sausage) or bratwurst. You can also buy some drinks. The most common drink on a Christmas market is hot, spiced wine (Gluehwein / Glühwein). Another important drink is glogg (Punsch). All these foods and drinks are meant to keep you warm or give back some warmth, because it usually is cold in december.
Often these markets have an additional name, like these well-known Christmas markets here in Germany: Christkindels Markt in Nurnberg (Christkindel is Child Christ in the local dialect) , Striezelmarkt in Dresden (Striezel is a certain kind of bakery product), Printenmarkt in Aachen (Printe is also a certain kind of bakery product, specific to Aachen) or Lebkuchenmarkt (Lebkuchen = ginger bread).
So, I wish you a happy, peaceful and joyful Advent time wherever you are and whatever tradition, country, religions or ethical group you belong to.