Munich Tales 2018: Christmas markets are special in Germany, and so it looks like some mulled wine for us.

Marienplatz, Munich (photo credit).

Our first taste of a German (or in this specific instance, Bavarian) Christmas market came in 2009 in Bamberg.

A Christmas market, also known as Christkindlmarkt (literally: Baby Jesus Market), Christkindlesmarkt, Christkindlmarket, Christkindlimarkt, and Weihnachtsmarkt, is a street market associated with the celebration of Christmas during the four weeks of Advent. These markets originated in Germany, but are now being held in many other countries. 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. The Christmas markets of Bautzen were first held in 1384. Dresden’s Striezelmarkt was first held in 1434. Frankfurt was first mentioned in 1393, Munich in 1310, and Augsburg in 1498. In Austria, Vienna’s “December market” can be considered a forerunner of Christmas markets and dates back to 1298.

In Bamberg we observed the endearing custom of ignoring the chilly weather and drinking outdoors at or near the Christmas market. Beer and spirits are available, but most of what we saw consumed was mulled wine, which we joined in partaking.

Now it is 2019, and we’re off for Munich and a brief stop in Bamberg. Costs are reasonable for off-season travel, and in spite of my stated antipathy toward Christmas, it should be noted that it’s very real — except when it isn’t.

The bulk of my annoyance is directed against the American way of celebrating the holiday, which otherwise might keenly interest an atheistic skeptic like me for any number of reasons pertaining to history, sociology, anthropology or beverage alcohol.

And food. Lots and lots of food.

Consequently, here come da social media Christmas market photos, along with any other items of interest for the next few days. Hit my Facebook page to see them. As usual, upon our return, I’ll be backdating the blog with these images.

The Best Christmas Markets in Munich, by Evelyn Smallwood (The Culture Trip)

During Advent, Christmas markets in German city squares turn the magic right up. They are noticeably low on obnoxious music, with super-sweet Glühwein in plentiful supply, and strolling around looking for the perfect wooden ornament is a treat, no matter how cold the weather. Here are our favourite Christmas markets in the beautiful city of Munich.


How Germany quietly cornered the Christmas market, by Kate Ferguson (Deutsche Welle)

Scented candles. Loose leaf tea? Forget hygge. Believe it or not, Germany has been quietly commodifying coziness for centuries

 … Since the 14th century, Germany has been shamelessly promoting these seasonal delights in special zones known as Christmas markets. Best described as the economic nerve centers of festive cheer, they tend to be located in a town or city’s central square, meaning heavy footfall is all but guaranteed.

Unlike hygge, weihnachtsstimmung has not been subjected to any form of backlash. In fact, cheap travel and the rise of globalization have caused the popularity of German-style Christmas markets to surge. These days, they can be found all over the world. From Beijing to Bangkok, the smell of roasted almonds and pine needles is prompting revelers to reach straight for their wallets …

And, this.