Hello? Anybody out there? Or are you all out shopping and making the economy a better place at least for Black Friday? For those of you not shopping til you drop or in the case of the internet shoppers--til your fingers cramp up, here's a little information on an old tradition in Europe, the Christmas Markets. These are large areas of booths set up each Christmas season with all sorts of arts and crafts and gift items as well as food and drink for purchase in many of the old European cities.
From researching them, it appears that the Christmas Market in Strasbourg, France, is the oldest and has been around since 1570. With the backdrop of the Strasbourg Cathedral and the famous astronomical clock it must be very impressive. It was originally called Christkindelsmarik or Market of the Infant Jesus. If that sounds a bit German rather than French it is because Strasbourg is near the German border and over hundreds of years that border has moved back and forth creating an area where German and French are spoken.
There are Christmas Markets in most countries including England but the greatest number of them are in Germany. There are many tour companies that specialize in taking you from one to another and there are even river cruises with a Christmas Market theme. You do have to book them quite a ways in advance. They fill up quickly.
This is a definite bucket list item. I'm not a shopper and if you read my blog you know that. But I am an interested observer and while I may not purchase a lot, this is the kind of thing I'd like to see and experience. I'll take it over the Black Friday experience any day.