The History of German Christmas Markets
– Lighting up the Advent Season
German Christmas markets are a centuries old tradition that light up communities with fun, laughter, fabulous food, drink, and unique gifts–the perfect antidote to holiday commercialism.
In Germany, there are a variety of markets known as Christkindlmarkts. Each Christkindlmarkt has its own special charm, unique to the community and region. We are thrilled to share this tradition with Vancouverites. Prepare to experience the sights, smells, and sounds of an Old World Christmas.
History of German Christkindlmarkt
Local artisans lined the streets and sold their wares at the market displaying distinct regional characteristics, which gave each market an individual flavour. Food and beverages served were produced in the region, so each town’s offerings were a little different.
Christkindlmarkts, were a festive meeting place for people. Villagers bought and sold homemade Christmas ornaments, decorations, and gifts. Traditional German handicrafts at the markets included hand carved nutcrackers, wooden smokers, wooden figures, cuckoo-clocks, straw ornaments and blown glass ornaments.
Martin Luther’s Role in Christmas Customs
Religious reformer Martin Luther played a major role in our current Christmas customs inspiring new Christmas gift giving traditions. Before Luther, the exchange of Christmas presents took place on the Saint Day of St. Nicholas (December 6) or St. Martin (November 11). The tradition of giving gifts to children on Christmas became a welcomed blessing.
Sharing and Carrying on the Tradition
Since 2010, the Vancouver Christmas Market has delighted Vancouverites and visitors to the
city with authentic German festivities.