Friday, 23 November 2012


Every year on Friday, before the first Advent's Sunday, the Christkind comes and opens in Nuremberg its market.

In Germany we have a Christkind (Christ-child) which is a beautiful angel with golden wings and a golden crown. It flies down on Christmas Eve, when it gets dark, and brings the presents to the children. All day long you are on tender hooks and yet you got to behave yourselves otherwise no presents. 

The agony. The door is locked on the sitting-room and when it is getting dark you can hear a bell ringing which tells you that the Christkind had been. Than you find the door is open and the candles had been lit on the decorated Christmas tree and the presents were under the tree.

On the sixth of December St Nicolas comes and you have to either say a prayer or recite poem, while you are sweating blood. If you were good, you got a little sack with nuts, apples, sweets and a presen


Now coming back to Friday evening when the Christ Child comes and opens the market and the truly Christmas season starts. Before that the 180-200 stalls built in wood and covered in red-white-striped canvas are all in darkness. When you look at the church at the back on the photo, you can see a balcony. There the trumpet players, who are all dressed in Middle Age clothes, sounding the arrival of the Christ Child. The Christ Child speaks a solemn prologue,

"You men- and womenfolk who were once children, too. You little one with just beginning the journey of your life. Each of you rests today and work again tomorrow; all listen here what the Christ Child has to say!
"In every year, four weeks before the time, when Christmas trees were decorated, everyone awaits the feast, here on the square, just as of yore, the market does appear what up and down the country they call Christmas Mart, the little town is built from wood and canvass its splendour's short, will soon be gone, but yet it is eternal. My Market is forever young, as long a Nuremberg does exist, as long as you remember it.
"For young and old the sight of the Old Town of Nuremberg has many faces and their number can't be counted. Look at the square today its surrounding high buildings rise, factory of modern times, and many suburbs grow, yet remember forever, you men- and womenfolk, the Nuremberg" of its people.

"The last month of the year has come and thus the day when wishes fulfilled and present given with baubles, glitter and with Christmas promise. But don't forget, Ye men- and womenfolk, one thing, those who have everything don't need your present, its children of the world and poorer folk who'll tell you what it means to give a present.

"You men- and womenfolk who once were children, too. Be child again today and do rejoice with Christ Child now invite you all to see the market.

"Who come to visit be welcome."

Then when she has finished the trumpet players play old familiar Christmas songs and finally them play 'Silent Night, Holy Night' and every body join in singing it.
After that the stalls lit up. The stalls are only allowed to sell traditional products. No plastic Christmas decoration or such like. Very famous are the 'Plum People'. These are made from dried plums which are special oval shaped plums, smaller and more aromatic. These plum people are made from a walnut as a head and the face drawn onto it. The arms and legs are from wires with dried plums stuck on it. Then little dresses, trousers, shirts, huts and shoes put on.
You also can smell the Nuremberg sausages roasted over an open grill. They are smaller and very spicy but not chillie hot. The Gluehwein (Mallet Wine) you can smell and taste it. All this adds to the atmosphere. The Lebkuchen and Stollen.
The Market is built on cobblestones and surrounded by rebuild big Merchant houses. The Merchants of Nuremberg were very successful and rich. They traded in spices, gold, silver and silk. Nuremberg lies on the trade route from south to north.
Being in that Market you would think and feel that time hasn't gone by.
The Christmas market was first mentioned in 1628.
In the 18th century 140 craftsmen were chosen from a list of 1737 to display their goods. From there on it got more and more organized and popular.



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