Around the world, Christmas illumination and decorations started to light up the entire city centre as soon as the beginning of December each year. Especially, in Europe, you will find the Christmas markets not only beautiful but also crowded during this season. The Christmas markets in Europe are so fabulous that you must visit at least once in your lifetime. Here are three interesting facts that you must know about Christmas Markets in Europe.
1. Special illumination lighting up the night sky
Speaking of Christmas markets, the strings of colourful lights lining the streets and on the structures shining brightly at night is a real spectacle. The stars and angels shaped illumination fit very well with European historical buildings and townscapes as the backdrop. Just being there bring our feet dancing with joy.
The custom of decorating the Christmas tree with lights is said to have originated around the nineteenth century. The tradition of illuminating the tree has become widely established to be inspired by the countless stars shining in the sky. Since there was no electricity in the past, electrical lightings could not be used. Instead, candles were used for decoration but they often resulted in accidental fires.
Finally Thomas Edison, who invented the incandescent bulb, used electric lights to decorate the Christmas tree for the first time. Gradually, this electric tree light product gained more attention at that time as the idea of using this ingenious invention to decorate the Christmas tree was advertised on popular newspapers.
2. Lively marketplace at the plazas and streets
At the Christmas markets, you can find stores of all products lined up. Food, drinks and seasonal gifts are sold in these shops which are bought by everyone, from children to adults. Some of the classic items that you can find at these markets are local sweets, Christmas tree decorations, handmade crafts & toys, hot drinks, and sausages.
The Christmas markets are usually held with the celebration of Christmas during the four weeks of Advent. Christmas market operates during this Christmas holiday season as Advent is a period of four Sundays before Christmas Day. The tradition’s origin dated back to Germany during the 15th century. It began with the citizens gathering at the town square and bartering for things that they required for Christmas. Sometimes, large and small fir trees were also traded to create Christmas trees.
3. The nativity scene of Christ displays the meaning of
Although it might not be found in all the Christmas markets around the world, the nativity scene was present in Poland’s Christmas Market. The handcrafted Christmas House that is known as “Szopka” can be found exhibited in the main market square. In English, the Christmas Szopka is also known as “Christmas Crib”. It is not well known in Japan, but you will surely see them in Europe often.
The Christmas House showcases the birth of Jesus and to emphasize the importance of Christmas Day. You can find Jesus’s mother Mary, his father Joseph and Biblical Magi and so on in the house. However, the infant Jesus appears only after the midnight on the 24th of December, which is said to be the birthday of Jesus. You can definitely find the house displayed when you visit the Christmas markets in Europe, so be sure to look out for it.
You may visit the European Christmas markets for their festive moods and traditional gifts that make the shopping experience really joyous and enjoyable. However, once you know the facts and history of Christmas, your perspective of these festive markets will be different. Being able to enjoy the atmosphere more and with more insight, we hope that you can go visit and support these traditional markets soon.