Christmas is almost four months away. Still, German towns and cities are planning their Christmas markets. They insist on them taking place, in spite of the Corona pandemic.
What would Christmas be without Christmas markets? In Germany, those events are so popular, they are being overrun by visitors each time. And they do have a long tradition. By now, the German Christmas market has been exported to spots all over the world. But so has the Coronavirus.
Christmas vs. Corona
Consuming hot wine punch, suckling pig, sausages and all kinds of sweet treats is one of the main activities for Christmas market visitors. Apart from trying to gain as much weight as possible, they look at countless stalls, where they purchase little Christmas presents and Christmas decoration, even though they already have a lot of it at home.
Now, an important question arose: How compatible are Christmas Markets and Corona? What kind of changes need to be applied to make sure visitors are safe? How can the risk of infection be minimized? Germany’s Christmas Markets are not supposed to be Corona markets.
Nurembergers and their ‘Christkindlmarkt’
These markets usually pop up all over the place. Berlin has about 20 main Christmas markets, and several smaller ones, in normal times. One of the nicest ones of them all is Nuremberg’s ‘Christkindlmarkt’. Who is from Nuremberg? Bavaria’s First Minister Markus Söder is. No Nuremberger has ever wanted to cancel any Christmas markets.
In an interview with media published by the ‘Funke Mediengruppe’ publishing house, Söder said there was still a lot of time that could be used for planning this year’s Christmas markets. “For instance, we could apply uniform paths with entrances and exits”, Söder stated.
One Way Paths Concept
His idea is not entirely new. Bavarian cities, including Nuremberg, Augsburg and Munich, have been discussing a “one way path” concept for their Christmas markets for weeks now. This would mean that all visitors need to enter those markets at the same entrance and walk in the same direction during their exaggerated calories intake.
They are not supposed to have their hot wine punch and get drunk while standing at those vending stalls, but keep on walking. Those Christmas treats can be consumed at home too. What is important is to give people the opportunity to inhale the Christmas market atmosphere, in spite of the mean Coronavirus that will grab any opportunity it has to spread further.
Trams with Cowbells
Augsburg wants to spread its Christmas market stalls all over the city, in order to prevent huge crowds from developing at one spot. Even in the far less religious northern part of Germany, those markets are always crowded. Christmas markets are not about religion, but about consuming all kinds of cakes and meeting people.
In Bremen, the main Christmas market on the city’s medieval marketplace is usually overcrowded. Because of all those visitors, the tram cannot even pass. That is why public transport employees with cowbells lead those trams through the market.
Recently, the federal government and Germany’s sixteen federal states had decided to ban large events all over the country until December 31st. But the country’s Christmas markets, that usually start in late November, are important. Even Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is usually very careful, wanted the subject of Christmas markets to be discussed separately.
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