As another year closes upon us soon, its time, once again, to thank my readers for taking interest in my blog. It makes my time and energy worthwhile.
Wishing you all a very Healthy and Joyful New Year 2016.
As the festivities add a cheerful and colourful end to the year, it reminds me of Christmas markets, especially traditional ones in Europe. Relaxing at home I’ve read up travel write ups, food and traditions around these markets. It all seems magical! Never been to one.
Early years the local community markets doubled up their stalls and products to meet the seasonal Christmas demand. Besides farm eggs, meat and fruits, wooden makeshift stalls sold craft items like wooden puppets, dolls and patchwork blankets. Markets were always a great meeting place, trading place.
Compare that to the modern markets set up in shopping malls all over the world. Tourists outnumber locals, unknown to each other, never a greeting. Plastic and animated toys, factory produced candies and breads, glitzy balloons, cheap confetti and baubles overflow on the shelves. All mundane, produced en masse. No personal touch.
Going back to the town markets all over Europe, imagine winter evenings made magical with tinkling lights, real Christmas trees with pine cones, even fresh snow upon the sidewalks. And carol singers winding their way through cobbled streets entering the Piazza or market square. Stop there, halt the time!
German and Austrian markets maybe the earliest, sponsored by the rulers and rich nobles in 1800’s. Demand for variety of handcrafted dolls with lace frocks, wooden trains and puppets, embroidered linen, crochet gifts, wooden cuckoo chime clocks, fragrant candles and soaps with earthy scents were popular. Winter was synonymous of pine cones dusted with gold or silver sparkle, Christmas wreaths made with pruned rosebuds, ivy twines, dry fig leaves. A way of recycling garden materials?
Cold weather and availability of ingredients summed up traditions around food. Chocolate, sugar, chestnuts and plentiful fruit after harvest. German beer, hot cider, apfelwein and malt drinks were popular. German sauerkraut/sausages, gingerbread treats, Santa theme chocolates and roasted almonds kept hunger and winter at bay.
Mesmerizing, a journey back into time? Well, no wonder more than 3 million tourists and locals visit these ‘once in a year’ markets in Europe.
Sit back and browse like me:
Or share your own Christmas market experiences, and thrill us.
Happy New Year
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