The Christkind, Kristkind or "Christ child" is the traditional Christmas giftbringer in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Christkindl is a diminuitive version of the Christkind. Our Christkindl (pronounced krisst-kindl), is depicted with long curly blond hair and a golden crown. She is sometimes accompanied by 2 angels.
Knecht Ruprecht (or farmhand Ruprecht), has his origin in Germany and is a companion of Saint Nicholas (or Father Christmas). He seems to know if you've been bad or good. Knecht Ruprecht carries with him a bundle of switches and a sack filled with candies (for those who have been good).
A group of children have just completed building birdhouses in the Saturday afternoon workshop up on the second floor. They are telling Knecht Ruprecht all about it.
Experience the unique sounds of Klaus' original hand-cranked street organ. Ask him about the origin that goes back to the eighteenth century. Have your picture taken with him and his friendly (stuffed) monkey.
Exerpt from Kitchener Post - De Boer’s treasures - By John De Boer
Every December since 2000, organ grinder Klaus Wehrenberg has been cranking out melodies and entertaining crowds at Christkindl Market at Kitchener City Hall. He was born in Germany, where itinerant street musicians would use trained monkeys to do tricks and solicit payments with a tin cup. Klaus uses a monkey puppet called Ovambo instead and a hat for tips. When he cranks the organ, bellows pump air through holes in reinforced music paper stored on spools. As the spool unwinds, air pressure flows through the holes in the paper, triggering music from the wooden pipes of the organ. His motivation for entertaining is simple: “My music brings joys and smiles to the faces of people.”
On Thursday evening, meet at Hall's Lane and Gaukel Street at 5:45 for a sing-along with the Grand Philharmonic Choir. Everyone is welcome! Pick up your candle and holder, available free for participants in the procession (or bring your own lantern). At 6:00 pm, Mary and Joseph lead the way to Kitchener's Carl Zehr Square where fanfares, church bells and trumpets welcome their arrival to the nativity. Join hundreds of visitors in the magic of this wonderful event. Singing continues with the Grand Philharmonic Choir's singing of Hallelujah Chorus.
Since 1997, members of the community re-enact the poem by T. Storm of Knecht Ruprecht (the one who knows ‘if you’ve been bad or good’) and the Prologue by Christkindl from the balcony of Kitchener City Hall, followed by the much anticipated lighting of the Christmas tree and the Square.
May your market make everybody as happy as it makes me.
"In the year 1996 I found out that there was going to be an authentic German Christkindl Market in the square of our City Hall in downtown Kitchener. I was all excited, 'how could I get involved, what could I do to help make this wonderful idea that Mr. Tony Bergmeier had, happen?' Those were the questions that ran through my head. I had no skills in anything like that, so I thought.
Well, all of a sudden I did find myself involved in something wonderful... I was privileged to take part in making the costumes for the angels and even the 'Christkindl.' But that was not enough for me, I wanted to be there every day to see and hear the magic that this Market brings. So I asked if I could rent a booth outside the Square. How wonderful it was! I felt like a little kid again, only now I was part of it, not a visitor. I tried my best in making "Zwetschgenmanderl", one of the authentic items one can buy at the Nuernberger Kristkindl Markt.
It made me happy when people with smiling faces stood in front of my booth, telling me that they remember these little figurines made out of dried prunes and a walnut as a head.
I had a wonderful time being part of the Christkindl Market, I still go every year, only now I am just a visitor. Thank you Onkel Tony, may your market make everybody as happy as it makes me." - Story from Claudia