Sunday, December 21, 2014
Merry Christmas! Enjoy some of the world's most beautiful Christkindlmarkts (Christmas markets)
A Christmas market, also known as Christkindlmarkt, Marché de Noël, Christkindlesmarkt, Christkindlmarket, and Weihnachtsmarkt, is a street market associated with the celebration of Christmas during the four weeks of Advent. These markets originated in Germany, Austria, South Tyrol in Northern Italy and the eastern French regions of Alsace, Lorraine and Savoy.
The history of Christmas markets goes back to the Late Middle Ages in the German-speaking part of Europe and in many parts of the former Holy Roman Empire that includes many eastern regions of France and Switzerland. Dresden's Strietzelmart was first held in 1434. The Christmas markets of Bautzen (first held in 1384), Frankfurt (first mentioned in 1393) and Munich (1310) Augsburg (1498) were even older. The Vienna "December market" was a kind of forerunner of the Christmas market and dates back to 1294.
In many towns in Germany and Austria, Advent is usually ushered in with the opening of the Christmas market or "Weihnachtsmarkt". In southern Germany and Austria it is sometimes called a "Christkind(e)l(s)markt" (German language, literally meaning "Christ child market"). Generally held in the town square and adjacent pedestrian zones, the market sells food, drink, and seasonal items from open-air stalls, accompanied by traditional singing and dancing. On opening nights (and in some towns more often) onlookers welcome the "Christkind" (originally boy Jesus, but more often depicted as an angel-like girl), acted out by a local child.
Do They Know It's Christmas, Band Aid
Need a Little Christmas, Johnny Mathis
Little Drummer Boy, Vienna Boys Choir
All I Want for Christmas Is You, Mariah Carey
Silent Night, Stevie Nicks