German Christmas is full of beauty and tradition. Do you prefer the large and well-know Christmas markets or the small and little visited ones? This is where opinions differ. In Munich, there are charming small neighborhood Christmas markets, but Munich locals know exactly where to find the “original”. Despite the hustle and bustle, it is worth taking a closer look on the one which is simply named “Munich Christmas Market”, as many treasures can be found there.
Munich and its Christmas markets – an old tradition
As I was born in Munich, I have known Munich Christmas Market all my life. It has some things in common with Nuremberg Christmas Market, e.g. both are among the most famous Christmas markets in Germany and around the world. You can feel the sense of tradition in both of them. If you stroll through the central Christmas market in Munich, you can breathe history in nearly every corner. It is assumed that its origin lies in markets of the 14th century in honour of Saint Nicholas. Already in 1642, such a market took place in a street near the Marienplatz (central square of Munich). In the Age of Enlightenment, the market was renamed “Christmarkt” (Christ’s market). Over the centuries, the annual event took place in different locations. It was only in 1972 that it found its permanent home on the Marienplatz and since then it has been called “Münchner Christkindlmarkt” (Munich Christmas Market).
Deeper insights for Bloggers and Instagrammers
The city of Munich invited bloggers and instagrammers to a special guided tour on Munich Christmas Market. An ideal topic for Hiddentraces, as apart from discovering unknown places, I am passionate about exploring well-known places deeper and introducing them to my readers in detail. I planned to explore the traditional Christmas market in detail a long time before. I was sure that the booths, which are packed with traditional handicraft, would offer great photo opportunities and that there are secrets of old traditions related to the Christmas market to be unveiled. I was absolutely right.
Who may donate the Christmas tree?
The oversized Christmas tree is world famous and “the” attraction of the Munich Christmas market – and not just for tourists. The 30 meters tall tree carries 2,500 candles. It is donated by a different Bavarian community each year. The donation is regarded a privilege. The communities have to apply and are put on a waiting list. In 2017, the Christmas tree was donated by the community of Burghausen, the town with the longest castle in the world, which I find very worth seeing. Burghausen has been waiting for 15 years to donate the Christmas tree. The tree was originally planted for the occasion of a wedding and was already 48 years old when it was cut down. It was raised as Christmas tree by the Munich fire department, as every year. The Christmas tree donation community Burghausen has its own booth in the town hall courtyard. Here you can comfortably enjoy a cup of mulled wine or alcohol-free punch, which is served by people from Burghausen. You can escape the crowds of Marienplatz and also admire the official nativity scene of the city of Munich.
Foods with great attention to detail
In terms of food you will find at Munich Christmas market, what you expect from it. Old Bavarian specialties, gingerbread and the smell of mulled wine are to be found everywhere. Even vegetarians and vegans like me can find something for themselves. Gingerbread booths appeal to me magically, because they make me think of a fairy tale. Gingerbread is available in many forms like hearts or figures. It is often made with lovely details. These booths also make wonderful photo opportunities. In the enchanting “Hexenhäusl” in the Rosenstraße (street south-west behind the Marienplatz) you can find gingerbread, which can also be used as decoration for the Christmas tree.
Handicraft from passionate people
Munich Christmas Market is known for its traditional and high-quality handicraft. For the past few years, I mostly walked only superficially through the Christkindlmarkt with the aim to drink a cup of mulled wine. But the elaborate wooden nativity scenes have also caught my attention in earlier years when walking through. I like the creative and versatile goods, but I’m also interested in the people who have been selling them with passion for many years at their booths. Behind the booths you will meet people with a passion for collecting things as special as old Christmas tree decoration. They turned their hobby into a profession. People give the stalls a special character and it is simply a pleasure to listen to them when they praise the goods they love. You can also find all sorts of curious things at the booths, such as cucumbers as Christmas tree decoration or skulls as cookie cutters. The booth operators are often “Bavarian originals” and come from the larger Munich area. Anyone who likes supporting regional products is doing well buying things on the Marienplatz during the Advent season.
Munich: world capital of nativity scenes
In Munich you can admire some of the best nativity scenes of the world during the Christmas Market. The “Christkindlmarkt” itself has its own area for this, the so-called “Kripperlmarkt” (Bavarian for “market of nativity scenes”), which takes place in the Neuhauserstraße (street west of Marienplatz). Hand carved nativity scenes can be seen at some booths or at a special exhibition, which takes place on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of a Munich club of “friends of nativity scenes”. It displays examples of the last 300 years. You can access the exhibition via the Prunkhof courtyard of the Town Hall. Admission is free.
Munich Christmas Market: Take your time for German Christmas!
It’s true that Munich Christmas market is not the quietest one in Germany. Many people are rushing through the lanes. Unfortunately, the hectic way of life on the shopping streets in the center of Munich seems to have an effect on the market as well. Nevertheless: German Christmas can’t get better than here. Explore the stalls in peace and quiet! Take in the beautiful details of the city’s oldest Christmas market! Enjoy the cosy and traditional flair and splendor of the magnificent Christmas tree!
What would Munich be without its traditions?
If you liked my article, you might also be interested in post on Nuremberg Christmas Market.
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