The magic of Christmas Markets
Christmas is over but for me, that feeling of Christmas stays well into the new year. Come December and like every year, I eagerly await Christmas. This has been the case ever since I was a child. The preparations that begin almost a month earlier with the beginning of Advent, the decorations, the sweets, the crib, the carols and not to forget, the gifts – Christmas always has been fun. But last year, Christmas was a different experience – a wonderful one at that. Last year, I was mesmerized by the magic of Christmas markets.
Since I was in Germany last year around Christmas time, I was looking forward to see the celebrations and the traditions followed during Christmas. If there’s one thing that I found very different from the celebrations in India, it has to be the Christmas Markets. Christmas markets start usually at the beginning of Advent and are open until the days just before Christmas. Each market has its own opening and closing days. Larger towns and cities have multiple Christmas markets. In smaller towns, there might be just one located near the town square. I’d heard a lot about the Christmas markets from my colleagues who had been in Germany earlier but the experience of visiting some Christmas markets myself was an amazing one.
I had the opportunity to visit Christmas markets in three different places. The one I frequented the most was in the town that I was living in – Heillbron. The Christmas market was my favourite place to hangout after work. The other ones that I have visited were in Ludwigsberg and Stuttgart. And trust me, each market has a charm of its own.
The Christmas markets begin at the start of Advent. The preparations begin way before. Located mostly in the central area, the Christmas markets usually have a lot of stalls that sell a wide variety of things. The most prominent ones are the ones that sell food and drinks. And those stalls are my favourites.
The smell of the food and drink wafts through the cold winter air and it is impossible to walk through a Christmas market and not eat or drink something! There are stalls that sell colourful candies which are a feast for the eyes as well. There are candied nuts that you can munch on while walking through the markets. There is Bratwurst (a fried or grilled) sausage and Langos- a kind of bread eaten with toppings of your choice. But er, that is not enough for the dessert lover in me! There are places that sell waffles- waffles on plate or on a stick and these are my go to dishes at a Christmas market. Then there are crepes and many other delicacies – the names of which I am yet to find out.
And yes, a Christmas market isn’t complete without Glühwein! Glühwein is my favourite thing to have at a Christmas market. It is hot, mulled wine with spices such as cinnamon, cloves and some citrus fruits for flavor. It is the perfect kind of beverage to deal with the cold of the winter. There is also a variant of the Glühwein which is served with Rum. Interesting, isn’t it? I’ve had Glühwein every time I’ve been to a Christmas market or more like at every opportunity available. 😀
Food and drinks are not all that is there in the Christmas markets. There are a variety of things that are sold here. The things sold vary from market to market. And if you are looking to pick up gifts for the Christmas season, the local goods sold here are perfect. I saw a lot of woodwork in the stalls that I went to. In addition to this, there are fun rides for children that bring back memories of fairs in India.
Roaming around the Christmas markets isn’t fun without some music. There’s music and I think it is mostly Christmas carols because I could recognize some familiar tunes. Carols do bring alive the magic of Christmas. They add their aura to the magic of Christmas markets too.
So yes, if you are in Europe in December, Christmas markets are a must-visit. I’ve only been able to visit a few in Germany and I hope that I can visit the ones in other countries as well. Remember, Christmas markets are open only until a couple of days before Christmas. So make sure you don’t go searching for them after Christmas. So I hope you get to enjoy the magic of Christmas markets.
Have you visited a Christmas market? Let me know what you think.
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