Nuremberg Christmas market Germany – Christkindlesmarkt Nürnberg Weihnachtsmarkt Deutschland

If I ever get to visit Germany before I die, it will probably either be for Oktoberfest in München (Munich) or for the Christkindlesmarkt in Nürnberg (Nuremberg). Since it’s nearly Christmas I’ll be talking about the latter in this post. For those who don’t know, the Christkindlesmarkt is a Christmas Market named for the Christkind, which literally means “Christchild”, but is actually more of an angel or Christmas fairy. In olden times, St. Nicholas was believed to bring presents for children on his feast day of December 6th, but after Martin Luther initiated the Protestant Reformation he thought it best to replace the Catholic saint with a figure representing the Christ child and move the gift-giving to December 24th instead, which is of course Christmas Eve, in order to make it part of the celebrations of Jesus’s birthday.

Sadly, the Christkindlesmarkt has been cancelled for the second year in a row due to the coronavirus, but normally it is held annually during Advent in front of the Frauenkirche (“Church of Our Lady”) in Nuremberg. Every two years a teenage girl is chosen from many contestants to represent the Christkind at the market. She must be a local girl, at least 16 years of age but no older than 19, at least 160 cm tall, and have absolutely no fear of heights (since she “has to make her speech from the church balcony, secured with a rope, possibly in inclement winter weather” [ibid.]). Below is an interview (in English) with a Christkind in her second year, in which she explains this wonderful tradition which has some similarities with and yet is so different from our department store Santa Claus.

Rick Steves’ European Christmas Extra: Bavaria’s Christkind

Some traditional food and drink you would get at the Christkindlesmarkt include Lebkuchen, a kind of gingerbread, Nürnberger Rostbratwurst (Nuremberg’s grilled sausage), and Glühwein, a type of mulled wine which I just happen to have a recipe for (though I have no way of knowing right now how authentic it is):

[image description: Glühwein auf dem Weihnachtsmarkt in Osnabrück 2015 (Mulled wine at the Christmas market in Osnabrück in 2015). Basotxerri, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons]

Glühwein (Mulled wine)


  • 1 (750 ml) bottle dry red wine
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Half an orange
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick


  1. In a saucepan, combine the water, sugar, and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.
  2. Push the cloves into the peel side of the orange half and place it in the simmering water. Continue simmering for at least 20 minutes, until thick and syrupy.
  3. Pour in the wine and heat until steaming but not simmering.
  4. Remove the clove-studded orange half and serve the hot Glühwein in mugs.

Published by striderlee

Dungeon Master, homebrewer, foodie, bibliophile, and fantasy author. He/Him

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