Christmas markets are common in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (the “DACH” countries, short for Deutschland (D), Austria (A), and Switzerland (CH, which is short for Latin Confoederatio Helvetica). But you can attend one without leaving Missouri!

Courtesy of The Historical Society of Maries County

By Peg Cameron Gill

Austria has plenty of Christmas markets. But the most famous one is probably on Vienna’s Rathausplatz, the square in front of the town hall. So how fitting that our own Vienna, Missouri, is holding a Christmas market!

The Historical Society of Maries County is holding its annual Christmas Market Nov. 11, 2023, in the Vienna Knights of Columbus Hall from 9 AM–2 PM. This will be the Historical Society’s 18th Christmas Market and all proceeds are used to preserve and keep safe the history and relics of Maries County.

There will be more than 50 local vendors on hand with homemade crafts and gourmet treats, and aftermarket products. Vendors will have a wide variety of items, including purses, ladies’ clothing, jewelry, gourmet sweets and treats, home and holiday decor, candles, and many different handmade goods.

Courtesy of The Historical Society of Maries County

For breakfast, The Welschmeyer Family Relay for Life will serve homemade cinnamon rolls and breakfast casserole, and home cooking (both chili and potato soup) along with homemade desserts for lunch. 

Christmas markets are a tradition in many countries. In a lot of towns in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, Advent is usually ushered in with the opening of the Christmas market or “Weihnachtsmarkt“. 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.

These street markets are associated with the celebration of Christmas during the four weeks of Advent. These markets originated in Germany, but are now held in many countries.

In Switzerland, each major city—Bern, Zurich, Geneva, Lucerne, Lugano, Montreux, and Basel—hosts multiple Christmas markets along busy streets and cobblestone lanes. They typically last the entire month of December. They often include traditional crafts such as candle dipping for the children to try.

Some in the U.S. have adapted the name Christkindlmarkt, to the quasi-German Christkindlmarket, substituting market for the German word spelled Markt.

You can read about the important role German immigrants who settled in the “German Heritage Corridor” (near Hermann) played in preserving the tradition of Christmas markets here in the Show- Me state by clicking this link.

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