“We’d heard so much about the Christmas markets in this part of the world we had to come check it out,” gushed the elderly Canadian couple next to me.
And they had picked the right place. While not rated as the most fancy Christmas markets in the world or even for being unique to Copenhagen or Denmark, the many Christmas markets in the city were buzzing with human activity, giving and experience of what Christmas season should be like.
Christmas markets are common throughout Europe since Christmas is one of the most important festive seasons in this part of the world. A Christmas market is usually a pop-up collection of stalls stocking and selling items relevant to the season. It is similar to Lunar New Year Markets and Ramadan Bazaars in other parts of the world.
These markets are culturally and commercially important. Commercial activity greases the wheels on which an economy operates even if this represents an informal one. At the same time these markets are an embodiment and repository of culture – the practices and service that are traded for money are practices that usually have deep cultural roots.
Apart from the fun and festivity, Christmas markets are also celebrated with great vigour perhaps because they give a lift to the mood in the midst of the pre-snow coldness.
Like the old Canadian couple, I picked the end this period to visit the city because of the Christmas markets – especially the one in Tivoli Gardens and I was not disappointed.
On offer at the various markets were a myriad of food options – from Hungarian Chimney Cake, to German Wurst, and from Danish Roasted Pork to Italian Cheeses.
So many things to eat and try. Then there was the must have drink for Christmas – Glögg, Gluhwein or Mulled Wine depending on where you are from. These are wines that are spiced with ingredients such as cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg and a friendly serving of alcohol. Drunk to warm the body on a cold, dark day.
A few cups of glögg later and you’ll be red and happy enough to play Santa Claus. I know I was 😉