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In central and northern Europe, Christmas markets are held during the weeks of Advent that precede December 25. In the stalls, typical dishes such as sausages and Glühwein or mulled wine are served, Christmas decorations and other local craft products are sold.
These markets, however, were born for reasons far removed from the religious spirit of the festivity.
The first historical evidence that refers to the celebration of markets and fairs during the birth period dates from the 13th century.
In Vienna, already in 1296, the Dezembermarkt is attested, a market that was organized for one or two days in December in which the population could stock up on what they needed to spend the winter.
Over time, other products began to be sold in the December markets, such as toys, roasted chestnuts, and sweets that were later consumed during the Christmas holidays. In this way, these peasant fairs were transforming their form until they fully became markets related to the Christmas festivities in German cities such as Munich and Fankfurt.
The Dresden Striezelmarkt is considered the first Christmas market attested to in written sources, a primacy that disputes the Bautzen Christkindlmarkt, of which evidence has been available since 1384. Another fair with a great historical tradition is the Nuremberg Christmas market.
It has been celebrated in the main square of the city since the 15th century, where all the artisans of the city met, receiving permission to sell their products.
During the 16th century, flea markets in the German territories experienced a boom in popularity thanks to Martin Luther's Protestant Reformation.
Luther proposed the day of the birth of Christ as the ideal date for exchanging gifts, as opposed to other days in December, such as Saint Nicholas Day, which is celebrated on December 6, when it was also customary to exchange presents.
This fact encouraged visits and purchases at the Christmas markets. With the rise of emporiums and malls, Christmas markets went through decades of decline. In the 1930s, National Socialist Germany used the markets as vectors of its German political-military vision.
Thus, the one held in Nuremberg was advertised as a treasure of the Third Reich. In recent years, Christmas markets have become popular all over the world and we find examples in cities as diverse as Barcelona and Singapore.
Currently, the largest cities in Germany have dozens of these markets distributed along their streets and squares. A great recommended market is the Striezelmarkt Dresden