It´s Chrismas time and I do not only “smell snow”, but also a whole lot of Glühwein (mulled wine). Munich has a notorious number of Christmas Markets, from traditional to innovative, but some are also just plain lame. This is why I will share with you which ones are my most favourite annual Christmas Markets, one every week until Christmas.
Since I had the pleasure to be invited to a wonderful bloggerwalk organised by the city of Munich and muenchen.de I will start with Munich’s oldest Christmas Market:
The Christkindlmarkt am Marienplatz
The Christkindlmarkt on the square in front of the new city hall in Munich is the cities oldest Christmas Market. It was established in 1972 in celebration of the Olympic Games in the city. This brings with it a whole lot of traditions.
The annual Christmas Tree
The Christmas tree in front of the new city hall is donated each year by a different city in Germany. It is a great honor to donor the tree so there are waiting lists between 15 and 20 years. The city that donates the tree can sell mulled wine in the backyard of the city hall in order to finance local development projects in their town.
This years Christmas tree was donated by the city of Burghausen at the border to Austria. They actually only waited for 15 years to be able to have that honor. The tree is a 48 year old Serbian Spruce, which was planted as a wedding ritual, and the mulled wine is delicious 😀
The Christmas Crib
Another highlight in the backyard of the city hall is the old Christmas Crib from the 1950s. The local pride of the people is mirrored in the traditional Bavarian dress of the figures.
Since Munich has the highest number of traditional Christmas cribs in Bavaria this is celebrated through special exhibition for the 300th anniversary of the of the society Munichs friends of Christmas cribs on other end of the backyard in the city hall galery. In other years you can check out this exhibition at the Bavarian National Museum. One Highlight is the Christmas crib made of pebbles from the Isar, the river that goes through Munich.
Crafts can be found at almost every Christmas Markets, but it is not always clear where and how they are made. At this Christmas Market, due to its age there are still though some of the most traditional crafts booths is all of Munich.
One of my favourite ones (booth 15) sells very special Christmas tree hangers. They make Angels out of geese feathers, which are absolutely gorgeous. Every year they take their customers suggestions to heart and add always new creations. And don´t worry, no animal has to suffer for these little sweethearts. The feathers are sourced sustainably rescuing them from the waste of the food industry in Oldenburg.
Another Highlight is booth 9. Here you can buy besides a high variety of gorgeous Christmas Tree decorations also historic tin figures, which used to be given to Children for Saint Nikolaus day. The Owner Gunnar Schweizer represents his treasures personally since the first ever Christmas Market in 1972. You can imagine all the stories he has to tell…don´t hesitate to ask 😉
Have you ever heard of the Christmas pickle? Me neither until yesterday… While it is actually not quite sure where this custom comes from, it says that the Christmas pickle is supposed to be the last ornament to be hung on the Christmas tree. Before opening any presents the kids (and/or other relatives and friends) then had to find it. The person who found the Christmas pickle can then open the first present.
The owner of booth 57 collects Christmas tree decorations, both historic and modern, including the Christmas pickle. So if you are up to starting a new Christmas tradition in your household you know where to find it 😉
Another common tradition still represented is caroling. Every Thursday in December before Christmas everybody has the opportunity at 5pm to sing with TV-Moderator Traudi Siferlinger and Musician Monika Drasch under the Christmas Tree. If you rather only want to listen you can enjoy a wee caroling concert from the balcony of the new city hall every day before Christmas at 5.30 pm and Christmas Eve at 12pm.
Finally, as with everything in life, also the Christmas time has a dark side. At the Christkindlmarkt am Marienplatz this dark side is represented by the “Krampus Lauf” (Krampus Run). Krampus is known as the companion of Saint Nikolaus. While latter is a very good-natured fellow and wants to give presents to all the children, former wants to warn naughty children to be better next year by giving them a great good scare which is still represented by the “Krampus Lauf”.
This year it takes place on the 10th of December from 3 pm and 17th of December from 4 pm. To have a good few of the ongoings make sure to be on time, wear clothes that are warm, not too sensitive and possibly cushion you a bit in case you get slightly hit by one of the Krampuses (there is no danger at all to get actually hurt though!). I have never actually been to the “Krampus Lauf” so far, but this year I will definitely go. Will you join me?