Christkindl Market - Christmas in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
When we think of Christmas and how it is celebrated, what we often think of are traditional German celebrations of Christmas. Germans brought us the Christmas tree, Christmas ornaments and wooden nutcrackers. It also seems that the richness many of us equate with Christmas came from the German traditions.
Every year the Christkindl Market is held in Kitchener, Ontario for 4 days in early December. It takes place at Kitchener City Hall and is free for everyone. The festival has consistently been voted one of the top 50 festivals and events in Ontario.
What is the Christkindl Market?
Christkindl markets have been held in Germany since the 14th century and the tradition continues in many cities and towns in Germany and throughout the world.Christkindl is German for Christ child.
The Christkindl Market has been in operation in Kitchener since 1996. It is a festival of German Christmas which features a Christmas market, a Kinderecke (Children's craft centre), a live nativity scene, musical entertainment, a candlelight procession from Victoria Park to Kitchener City Hall, and the lighting of the Christmas tree in front of city hall, as well as a myriad of other events and displays. The market also features over 70 vendors selling everything from food to decorations to toys.
The festivities start at Victoria Park on Thursday night with the lighting of the Christmas lights. Then a candlelight procession makes its way to City Hall for the opening ceremonies which features speeches, the reading of the poem Knecht Ruprecht, an opening prologue by the Christkindl and two angels, and then the lighting of the Christmas tree. It finishes off with the Hallelujah chorus from Handel's Messiah sung by the Grand Philharmonic Choir.
The festival runs from Thursday to Sunday and is open from 10am to 9pm. Admission is free for all.
The Christkindl Market is held in Kitchener because traditionally Kitchener has had a large German population. The city was founded by German speaking Mennonites who relocated from Pennsylvania. Before World War II, the city used to be called Berlin.The market was introduced in 1996 in order to help to revitalize the downtown.
Kitchener is also home to one of the biggest Oktoberfest festivals in North America.
Both events bring thousands of visitors from all over the world to the city.
Christkindl Market 2014
The Christkindl Market will take place in Kitchener from Thursday, December 4 until Sunday, December 7. Admission is free.
Here is the 2014 flyer.
The Christkindle Market is held here every December.