When I first came to Germany I heard about the fantastic Christmas markets that take place throughout the country and was excited that I would be around to experience them. At these markets they have special Christmas cookies and mulled wine, which is called Glühwein in German. There are also local crafts that are sold at the stands and I am interested to see what else goes on at these markets. I was quite surprised when I learned that the Christmas markets start around mid to late November and last until Christmas. Also, I had originally thought that this was just a German occurrence, but have since learned that Christmas markets are held throughout Europe.
While I was in Ireland I saw Christmas decorations already around the city and found it quite strange that they would be put up so early. I couldn’t believe that in Belfast they already had a Christmas tree up in front of city hall. They were setting up the booths for their Christmas market, which started this past Tuesday. I even remember when I was in Salzburg a week ago that they too were setting up the booths for their Christmas market. I was thinking to myself that they are starting to prepare for Christmas very early and it’s not even Thanksgiving yet. But then as I thought about it more I couldn’t think of a major holiday for any European country between now and Christmas and knowing that they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, I guess Christmas is what they have to look forward to. I had always thought that we started our Christmas season early, the day after Thanksgiving, but now I realize that the Europeans start even earlier. I even saw a sign that said Happy New Year hung up on one of the streets in Belfast. I find it quite interesting that the time we spend celebrating our holidays is getting longer and longer.
In the US, our holiday seasons are starting to blend together with stores putting out decorations and other things for Halloween, quickly followed by Thanksgiving, and then immediately going into Christmas. In Europe, Halloween isn’t celebrated much, if at all and they don’t have Thanksgiving. So it seems that they can have a long Christmas celebration period because it’s the one major holiday that they have during this season. I may be looking over some holiday in one of the European countries, but at least in Germany and Ireland it seems that Christmas is here already. I can’t wait to experience the Christmas markets for myself though. I’ve heard that the one in Heidelberg is quite good and so is the one in Mannheim. But the biggest in Germany is located in Nuremberg and I really want to check that out before I leave.