A Christmas market, also known as Christkindlmarkt (literally: Christ Child Market, but the term “Christkind” usually refers to an angel-like “spirit of Christmas” rather than literally the Christ Child), Christkindlesmarkt, Christkindlmarket, Christkindlimarkt, and Weihnachtsmarkt, is a street market associated with the celebration of Christmas during the four weeks of Advent. These markets originated in Germany, but are now held in many other countries. The history of Christmas markets goes back to the Late Middle Ages in the German-speaking part of Europe, and in many parts of the former Holy Roman Empire that includes many eastern regions of France.[
Dresden’s Striezelmarkt was first held in 1434 and is considered the first genuine Christmas market, as earlier markets were rather “December markets”. Early mentions of these “December markets” can be found in Vienna (1298), Munich (1310), Bautzen (1384), and Frankfurt (1393).
In many towns in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, Advent is usually ushered in with the opening of the Christmas market or “Weihnachtsmarkt”. In southern Germany, Switzerland and Austria, it is called a “Christkind(e)l(s)(i)markt” (German language, literally meaning “Christ child market”). Traditionally held in the town square, the market has food, drink and seasonal items from open-air stalls accompanied by traditional singing and dancing. On opening night at the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, and in some other towns, onlookers welcome the “Christkind” (originally boy Jesus, but often depicted as an angel-like girl), acted out by a local child.