Every Christmas, since medieval times, towns and cities across Germany have come alive with outdoor markets of cute wooden booths and stalls, full of traditional handmade Christmas ornaments, nutcrackers, wooden figurines, delicious German foods to suit every taste, music and dancing.
These are just some of the sights, sounds and smells of your authentic German Christmas Market experience at Christkindl, where you will be welcomed by the oldest and largest German community in Canada – and by folkloric German Christmas characters like the Christkindl, Angels, Knecht Ruprecht and Klaus the Organ Grinder.
Stalls selling mulled wine and delicious sugar-coated Stollen fruit cakes. The smell of apples, cinnamon, baked treats and grilled sausages fill the air. Choirs sing carols and visitors join in. The sounds of blacksmiths' hammers and organ grinders remind of a time long forgotten. Orchestras and brass bands play and dancing troupes dance through the streets. As night falls, a giant Christmas tree comes to life, filling the town square with twinkling lights and glittering ornaments, and dancing gives way to skating under the stars. Today, Christkindl markets have been exported around the world, spreading the unique spirit and experience that is German Christmas, to millions of people seeking to create magical memories of the season for their families.
Christmas markets have been part of this festive time for centuries in Germany. The oldest recorded market dates to 1310 in Munich, Germany. It was called "Nikolausdult" and was very different from the markets of today. It was an opportunity for farmers to come to town, do some shopping and at the same time, offer their wares.
The reformation of the church in the 16th century brought changes to the Christmas markets. Nikolaus was replaced by the Christkindl (Christchild) as the gift giver and the Nikolaus markets became Christkindl markets. This custom began in the Protestant areas of Bavaria with Nuremberg being the first city to call its market "Christkindlesmarkt." Munich, a Catholic city, changed its "Nikolausdult" to "Christkindlmarkt" in 1805.
"This little town is built from wood and canvas. Its splendour's short,
will soon be gone. But yet it is eternal. My market is forever young..."
From Nuremberg's Prologue of the Christ Child, an essential part of the Christkindl Market opening ceremonies.
For over 700 years German communities have continued the tradition of erecting Christmas markets in the central square of their cities and towns – erecting tiny wooden huts where cooks, artisans and merchants could peddle their wares, and providing a place where people could meet to share songs, food and gifts. We’ve continued that tradition, bringing together 100 vendors of local artisana handicraft, decorations, jewellery, food and more. With an emphasis on Old World European theme and flavour, you’re sure to find one-of-a-kind gifts and treasures – to sample onsite, or to take home for
family and friends.
Christkindl Market was brought to Kitchener's City Hall by founder Tony Bergmeier. It was designed to breathe life into the core of downtown Kitchener. Today, 40,000 visitors from across North America come to experience our award-winning festival.
Christkindl Market has been awarded Top 100 Festivals & Events in Ontario. Additional awards include: Oktoberfest Parade - Wunderbar, Harvest, Sponsorship and Spirit and Enthusiasm Awards. Kitchener Downtown Business Association (KDBA) - Arts and Culture Contribution.
In 2019 Christkindl Market was the Community Award recipient at German Pioneers Day.
Christkindl Market is only possible through the efforts of hundreds of volunteers.
Each year the Ontario Volunteer Service Award recipients include Christkindl Market Committee Members