As October turns into November, people all throughout the city rush to replace their Halloween set ups with Thanksgiving and Christmas décor. Chicago citizens begin marking their calendars around this time each year for all of the seasonal events still to come. One of the most talked about Christmas events is the Christkindlmarket. The event is so anticipated, that its website features a large countdown on its homepage (http://www.christkindlmarket.com/chicago/). This year, the 23rd annual Christkindlmarket is set to take place from November 16 through December 24 on Daley Plaza in the Chicago Loop.
The special market features vendors from a myriad of different nations, who sell their handmade goods. This includes art, such as woodwork, jewelry, toys, metalwork, clothes, ornaments, and glass. Perhaps what the festival is most known for is its variety of food and drinks offered from around the globe. Chicago citizens take advantage of the warm and appetizing selection boasted by the Christkindlmarket each year as a relief from the cold winter. People are enticed to purchase food simply by the smells that engulf them throughout the market. As the website explains, the goods and food are not simply selected at random to be included in the festival. The website states, “Inspired by the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany, which began in 1545, the Christkindlmarket Chicago brings a cherished German and European tradition with international flair and local charm to Chicago. Chicago's largest open-air Christmas festival was first held on Pioneer Court in 1996.” While the different booths and tables set up represent many countries, the majority of the vendors are from Germany or other Eastern European countries.
Although most of the merchandises boasted by the Christkindlmarket must be bought, much of the entertainment is free along with admission. There are demonstrations on different forms of craftsmanship, live music of many kinds, and also dance performances. A list of these events along with their corresponding dates can be found on the website. One event that Christkindlmarket takes pride in is the visit of the Christkind, who children hope to meet as she walks around the market. As the website explains, “The Christkind, a fairy-like being dressed in gold and white robes with a crown upon her golden locks, is the namesake of the Christkindlmarket Chicago. Christkind folklore dates back to the 1500s and stems from traditional customs: Parades during the holiday season were guided by one 'grand' angel, the Christkind. Since then, and still today, she is the bearer of gifts to most children in German speaking countries, much like Santa Claus is in the United States. Traditionally, gifts are exchanged December 24th and delivered by the Christkind, who leaves gifts under the Christmas tree and disappears before the children can catch a glimpse of her.” The Christkindlmarket is not limited to Chicago. The other locations include Naperville and Milwaukee. So, mark your calendars, and head downtown to meet the Christkind, enjoy delicious food, and admire some amazing craftsmanship beginning on November 16, 2018.