German Christmas Markets: Origins and Traditions

Dreseden Christmas Market, GermanyDid you know that Christmas trees originated in Alsace near Strasbourg, home of one of the world's oldest Christmas markets?

A number of Christmas traditions made early appearances in German Christmas markets.

In 1294, Emperor Albrecht I Von Habsburg of the Holy Roman Empire gave Vienna's merchants permission for the first Christmas season market. In 1310, farmers came to Munich for Nikolausdult to sell produce and do their own Christmas shopping. 

These forerunners of modern Christmas markets evolved into colorful Advent celebrations, spreading to German speaking areas of Europe and around the globe.

What will you see at Christmas Markets?

Traditional Bavarian style market huts bathed in light are filled with handmade ornaments, candles, nutcrackers, hand-blown glass and tasty treats including sausages, stollen, gingerbread houses and gingerbread cookies. Visitors can relax in beer gardens or warm up by sipping Feuerzangenbowle, Gluhwein, cider and hot chocolate.

Who will you see at Christmas Markets?

  • Weihnachtsmann - Father Christmas, who needs no introduction.
  • The Christkind or Christkindl - She has a white and gold robe, blonde hair and a gold crown.
  • Pflaumentoffel - A chimney sweep made from black plums.

To learn more about these traditions and where to find German Christmas markets, read German Christmas Markets: Where to Find Them in Europe and 12 German Christmas Markets (Outside Germany).

Photo Credit: sanako*,

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