Between Christmas in July and Weihnachtsmarkts, it is hard to distinguish which tradition is more popular. Each centers around Christmas, but with entirely different customs. The only way to decide which is more popular is through thoroughly delving into each holiday tradition.
Christmas in July began as a celebration for countries that experience winter in July. A significant aspect of Christmas is the brisk winter air, drifting snowflakes, and huddling around a fireplace. Without the cold winter weather, Christmas doesn’t feel like… well, Christmas! It is a celebration providing a great excuse to throw a party in July while engaging in those classic wintry festivities.
Weihnachtsmarkts, also known as Christkindlmarkts, align more traditionally with Christmas celebrations. During the month of December, the actual Christmas season, Weihnactsmarkts take place throughout Germany and Austria. Farmers, tradesmen, and artisans gather between centrally located churches to sell their crafts. Figurines, delicately carved toys, ornaments, and music boxes line cobblestone streets on display.
The open-air Christmas markets once honored Catholic Saint Nikolaus, but the Reformation of the Church in the 16th century reshaped the vision of the festivities. Naming the markets Christkindlmarkts redirected the focus from Saint Nikolaus to “Christchild” Jesus as the gift-giver during the holiday. The renaming of the markets originated in Nuremburg, spreading to Protestant portions of Bavaria, and eventually, to all Saint Nikolaus markets.
It is safe to say that the deep roots of Weihnachtsmarkts are more representative of traditional culture and is overall the more popular. But, since we can’t visit a German Weihnachtsmarkt, we will be celebrating Christmas in July at The Relaxed Explorer! During the month of July, keep an eye out for a little extra Christmas cheer this summer… maybe a giveaway, too!