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Stroll around one of the oldest Christmas markets in Europe!
Christkindelsmärik? A difficult name to pronounce and remember, isn't it? Go on, have a go... Have you got it? Congratulations, you now know the original name of the Strasbourg Christmas market, one of the oldest Christmas markets in Europe! Would you like to know a little bit more about its history?
The origins of the Strasbourg Christmas Market
Why is the Strasbourg Christmas market such an important event? A question that you are probably wondering as you get ready for your trip to Alsace. The answer lies in the distant origins of this market: it has been a real Strasbourg tradition for hundreds of years, making it one of the oldest Christmas markets in Europe! Incredible, isn't it?
Its origins date back to the Middle Ages, when it was customary to set up a Saint Nicholas' market on the square of Strasbourg cathedral around December 6. The worship of saints being subsequently forbidden, it was replaced in the 16th century by the Christkindelsmärik, meaning the Christ Child's Market, and moved to a few days before Christmas. The Christkindelsmärik gradually evolved, taking up an increasing amount of space in Strasbourg's city center and lasting for longer as time went by. Now, the festivities of Strasbourg, Capital of Christmas, in which you are taking part are spread over a single site — Strasbourg's Grande Île — with over 300 chalets!
A Christmas Market rooted in tradition
The range of traders present at the Christkindelsmärik has evolved along with the market itself, but age-old traditions are still very much alive today. For instance, did you know that gingerbread sellers were already present in the Middle Ages? Or that Christmas trees and toys appeared from the 16th century? As you stroll around the Christkindelsmärik holding a delicious piece of gingerbread and looking for a present for those you love, you are entirely in line with the Christmas tradition in Strasbourg...