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There has never been a drier month in Germany since records began in 1881, and the usual seasonal snow has gone AWOL.

But snow or not throughout the country the centuries old Christmas Markets, with their enchanting atmosphere and sight, smells and tastes of Weihnachten are open.

The Christmas Markets of Germany




Francine A. McKenna - German Culture Editor

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Avatar: HOHENZOLLERNBRÃœCKE Cologne with CATHEDRAL and LUDWIG MUSEUM. The Bridge a symbol of how Germany was rebuilt after WWII, it was left in ruins, the Cathedral with roots in the 13th century represents the country's history, Museum of Modern Art the present day.

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Francine, such a lovely article with the nice pictures. This gives a very vivid image of what it is like to stroll through the Christmas Markets and pick up some beautiful gifts -- not to mention the wonderful foods and such.

I enjoyed reading and dreaming of being there, shopping, snacking, admiring all the hand-crafted items and just being in an atmosphere of cheerful people and the season.


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Phyllis Doyle Burns
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Excellent descriptions & conveyance of the holiday atomosphere in the town squares. Although it's been a mere week, the memories were awaken with this article.

Liebkuchen (spiced ginderbread cookies) made up a major portion of our booty from the Christmas Markets. Of course, I've mentioned the gluehwein & how the family now has a 6-pack of coffe cups to remember each of the cities we visited (4 in Germany - 2 in Austria).

Even witnessed the Krampus ritual in Salzberg, but it seems like it was a bit earlier than expected. Thought the wife was going to be grabbed & sacked... Maybe the Bavarian/Tyrolian tradition of the Krampus would make an excellent article for the season.


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Am so glad you enjoyed the article Phyllis, and am sure you will make the trip to see it for yourself one day...........it is something to look forward to..........I mean if we are still planning cocktails on the moon am sure we can also fit in a quick trip to the Christmas Markets.

The photos are super aren't they................now let's think, who was it who helped me to 'crack the picture codes', Hmmmmmm? Thanks Phyllis.
smile



Francine A. McKenna - German Culture Editor

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Avatar: HOHENZOLLERNBRÃœCKE Cologne with CATHEDRAL and LUDWIG MUSEUM. The Bridge a symbol of how Germany was rebuilt after WWII, it was left in ruins, the Cathedral with roots in the 13th century represents the country's history, Museum of Modern Art the present day.

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You are most welcome, Francine. That was fun working with you on the image coding. smile

Cocktails on the moon? Is another journey planned? I will have to go check Mona's forum. I am ready to go. I could use a good cocktail or two and "spacing out" will help some also. laugh


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Super you had some good memories 'clicked' Beetle, and great you enjoyed the article..........you have been there so you could have given it 0 marks out of 10 after all.

Yes would like to cover Austria's Krampus, think I will ask if Austria can be added to Germany sometimes when it is a topic like that. It is a German speaking country after all, with much the same history and customs.

Krampus is really ugly and frightening, or he is normally at least, don't know about the one who wanted to grab and sack your wife, and he makes Bavaria's Knecht Ruprecht, Servant Ruprecht, who I mentioned briefly in the German Culture St. Nicholas article, look positively handsome.

Krampus and Knecht Ruprecht are tied to the St. Nicholas holiday on December 5th/6th, they are his helpers and in Holland it is Zwarte Piet, Black Peter.

Originally they all had the job of putting 'naughty' children into sacks, no wonder youngsters used to be so afraid of them.

Kindly, smiling Santa Claus is a whole different ball game isn't he?




Francine A. McKenna - German Culture Editor

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Avatar: HOHENZOLLERNBRÃœCKE Cologne with CATHEDRAL and LUDWIG MUSEUM. The Bridge a symbol of how Germany was rebuilt after WWII, it was left in ruins, the Cathedral with roots in the 13th century represents the country's history, Museum of Modern Art the present day.

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I can think of a few beastly guys I would not mind coming after me, but the Krampus? No, thanks! Did you fend him off, Beetle?



Krampus wikipedia creative commons

Last edited by Phyllis - Appalachia; 12/13/11 11:41 AM.

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I think it would make a great article. Austria and Germany are so close in their cultures and history it would be ok, I think.


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Yes Krampus is quite a 'Looker' isn't he Phyllis and that is a great picture of him. Being faced with that is guaranteed to frighten youngsters into being 'nice not naughty' I would think.

The Bavarian equivalent as St. Nicholas's side kick, Knecht Ruprecht, is not quite as frightening to look at, but nevertheless he also was supposed to load really badly behaved kids into his sack and throw them into the river. shocked

Not really what we think of as being holiday spirit these days.





Francine A. McKenna - German Culture Editor

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Avatar: HOHENZOLLERNBRÃœCKE Cologne with CATHEDRAL and LUDWIG MUSEUM. The Bridge a symbol of how Germany was rebuilt after WWII, it was left in ruins, the Cathedral with roots in the 13th century represents the country's history, Museum of Modern Art the present day.

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Did I fend them off? Naw... they were too busy chasing the bad kids...


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Good thing you are a fast runner! laugh I would be very sad if you were still over there in a sack.


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Phyllis Doyle Burns
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Right now, I wouldn't mind being over there in any condition... Major program review has everyone on pins & needles, while I try to stay calm & collected.


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Just have another beer, breath deep, and go within to find your strengths. Want me come over and help with the paperwork?


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Phyllis Doyle Burns
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Not much paperwork, on my part. Just the overall conduct of the event since our company is hosting in the conference room.


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Well...you are so good at these types of tasks. When all is said and done, hopefully you will feel good about your part in it.


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Back to the Christmas Markets...

What a way to socialize around a table while sipping on gluehwein; then walk the lanes of wooden stalls, making plans of what might satisfy the palate or make an excellent gift.


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What is 'gluehwein? Are the wooden stalls always there or do they put them up just for the Christmas Markets? Did you buy any Christmas ornaments? I bet they had some lovely ones.



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Francine,

My mother has several crystal bird tree ornaments from Germany which a friend brought back for her a few years ago. I put them on Brother's tree when helping him decorate. It was a melancholy, reminiscing evening as we decorated his and Mama's tree. The crystal birds are overlaid with diamond cut pieces of crystal of different colors and are so beautiful, very small, but lovely.

Mama's friend said she purchased them at the Christmas Market. I wonder if they can be ordered online?

Last edited by Phyllis - Appalachia; 12/15/11 03:11 AM.

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Hi Francine-

Loved the article. I too loved the photos. It entices one to go to Germany just for the market.

I was glad to see your mention of Chicago German Christmas Market. After looking at your pics, I could see that we do a pretty good job mocking the real thing.

I once hosted an outing to the Christmas Market, for German Au Pairs. The girls (and one German mom) were excited to have something that reminded them of home here in the states. Their only complaint, no gluehwein for minors.

Of course, the mom (from Germany) purchased a cup for each girl & I turned my back and let them enjoy that tiny slice of home for a day.

Thanks so much for sharing, that is such a fond memory.


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A bird Christmas ornament is a traditional symbol of joy and happiness in Germany Phyllis, although I can imagine this is not quite how it felt this year for you and your brother.

Christmas and Easter decorations used to be made by farming folk during the winter season when there was nothing to be done outside, and they often rescued birds from the harsh weather and kept them in cages until the spring. Then they were released into the wild again, but in the meantime the farmers began to carve out their images as tree ornaments.

That is a story I was told about their origins as a decoration, but am sure there are many other versions.

The crystal covered birds are beautiful and you are so lucky to have them. Will try and find a supplier for you, it should not be difficult, but they are amazingly expensive because there is a lot of work in them one way or another, they are a 'joy' to have hanging on the tree though. Even more especially when they move a little then sparkle and really catch the light.



Francine A. McKenna - German Culture Editor

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Avatar: HOHENZOLLERNBRÃœCKE Cologne with CATHEDRAL and LUDWIG MUSEUM. The Bridge a symbol of how Germany was rebuilt after WWII, it was left in ruins, the Cathedral with roots in the 13th century represents the country's history, Museum of Modern Art the present day.

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Hi Yvonnie, Glad you enjoyed the article........the markets are all such super places to visit though, it really is not difficult to make them sound and look good, they just are.

Your story about the German youngsters made me smile, yes they will have been used to having their Gluehwein from quite a young age, so would probably have found it a litte odd not to be allowed suddenly. Good you let them have a sip. smile



Francine A. McKenna - German Culture Editor

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Avatar: HOHENZOLLERNBRÃœCKE Cologne with CATHEDRAL and LUDWIG MUSEUM. The Bridge a symbol of how Germany was rebuilt after WWII, it was left in ruins, the Cathedral with roots in the 13th century represents the country's history, Museum of Modern Art the present day.

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Gluehwein is a German version of mulled wine Phyllis, here is a recipe which is just super and incredibly easy to make. The aroma is terrific and the taste Yum! smirk

The little huts are put up just before Advent, the markets opened around the first Sunday of Advent and the big Weihnachtsmaerkt will then stay open until the 23rd/24th December.

The little local ones all open at different times during Advent and last about 5 days normally.

And yes there are always masses of stalls with Christmas decorations, all of them hand made from wood, glass, feather, prunes, pewter, all types of things. There is a picture of some little prune people in the article, they are so cute.

Mass produced stuff from China or anywhere else does not feature, it is not part of the German Christmas tradition really and is not allowed, so all the handcrafts and food etc. give a completely different atmosphere to the markets somehow. It is almost like a step back in time!



Francine A. McKenna - German Culture Editor

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Avatar: HOHENZOLLERNBRÃœCKE Cologne with CATHEDRAL and LUDWIG MUSEUM. The Bridge a symbol of how Germany was rebuilt after WWII, it was left in ruins, the Cathedral with roots in the 13th century represents the country's history, Museum of Modern Art the present day.

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I looked around, but didn't see any prune people at the markets. Maybe I wasn't looking hard enough...


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I went back to the article and saw the little prune people -- they are darling, Francine. I saw the picture the first time, but did not know what the little dolls were made of.

Gluehwein sounds wonderful. I will have to try that recipe. Our Christmas Eve supper will be at Brother's home and I think the gluewein will be a good idea. Thanks for the recipe.


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Yes the prune people, Zwetschgemaennla, are super Phyllis and they are supposed to bring luck to the home that has them.

Have tried making them myself from prunes and walnuts but they looked pretty awful by the time I had finished, so I gave up and all mine come from Weihnachtsmaerkte.

Do hope you enjoy the Gluehwein...........it is pretty powerful stuff too, so hopefully you will actually remember your holiday celebrations afterwards. laugh



Francine A. McKenna - German Culture Editor

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Avatar: HOHENZOLLERNBRÃœCKE Cologne with CATHEDRAL and LUDWIG MUSEUM. The Bridge a symbol of how Germany was rebuilt after WWII, it was left in ruins, the Cathedral with roots in the 13th century represents the country's history, Museum of Modern Art the present day.

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Gosh that�s a shame Beetle.......although probably not for your 'excess baggage' load on the way back.

There are two stands at the Munich market, and several at Nuremburg, not sure about the other markets you visited����.but never mind because they will certainly be there next year as well. smile



Francine A. McKenna - German Culture Editor

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Avatar: HOHENZOLLERNBRÃœCKE Cologne with CATHEDRAL and LUDWIG MUSEUM. The Bridge a symbol of how Germany was rebuilt after WWII, it was left in ruins, the Cathedral with roots in the 13th century represents the country's history, Museum of Modern Art the present day.

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