Christkindl Market is home to approximately 100 vendors each year, including artisans, jewelers, crafters, carpenters, bakers, cooks, candlestick makers and more.
For many centuries, craftspeople from across Germany have made objects to help people celebrate – and create – family traditions during the holiday season.
From the Erzgebirge region in the Ore Mountains of Germany come Schwibbogen, or light bows – candle holders made in the shape of an arch. The first Schwibbogen, crafted from iron, are believed to have been made in the 1700s to decorate and light churches, later being made from wood and used in the windows of peoples’ homes. It’s also been suggested that the curved shape of Schwibbogen represents the entrance to a mine. An old story tells that at the end of the year, all the miners gather in front of the mines to celebrate Christmas; if there were no fatalities in the mine that year, they hung their lanterns across the mine’s entrance.
Another Christmas tradition attributed to Germany is more likely the work of savvy marketers. Many people in North America recount the story of the Christmas pickle – a glass ornament in the shape of a pickle is hidden on the Christmas tree; the first person to find the pickle receives a special gift. And while the glass blowers of Christmas ornaments in Germany did make pickles – as well as glass ornaments in the shape of just about every other vegetable – there is no evidence that this tradition originated in Germany. Rather, it appears to have been made-up in the 1980s by German manufacturers and American importers – to boost the sale of glass Christmas ornaments. Just proving that traditions can begin at any point in history!
Want to know more about traditional German Christmas decorations? Ask your local library to borrow:
Erzgebirgische Volkkunst: Popular Arts and Crafts from the Erzgebirge Mountains, written by Hellmut Bilz, published by Ingo Beer Verlag in 2000.
As we come closer to the end of 2020, there may be a rare light at the end that may bring us a glimpse of hope for all to come in 2021. Jupiter and Saturn will align so closely in the night sky that they will create a radiant point of light, often known as the "Star of Bethlehem" or the "Christmas Star".
"Alignments between these two planets are rather rare, occurring once every 20 years or so, but this conjunction is exceptionally rare because of how close the planets will appear to be to one another," said Patrick Hartigan, an astronomer at Rice University. "You'd have to go all the way back to just before dawn on March 4, 1226, to see a closer alignment between these objects visible in the night sky." Read more here: Jupiter and Saturn Will Align to Create the First "Christmas Star" in Nearly 800 Years
Grab a blanket, head outside and experience the phenomenon for yourself. With a clear view, look to the southwest about 45 minutes after sunset. The two planets will be at their closest on December 21st but the "Christmas Star" can be seen for about one hour after sunset in the northern hemisphere for the entire fourth week of December.
Sunday, December 20th, 7:00 pm on midtownradio.ca
Turn the light down low, get comfy and tune in to Midtown Radio this Sunday and get transported back to Christmas Eve, 1943.