This year, Advent is as short as it gets. As a result, many Christmas markets in North Rhine-Westphalia want to open even before Totensonntag. This meets with clear criticism with the Protestant church.
"If the Advent season is extended more and more, it loses its special character and becomes commonplace," the press spokesman for the Evangelical Church of Westphalia, Andreas Duderstedt, told the Evangelical Press Service . Therefore, the start of a Christmas market should not be before the Sunday of the dead, he stressed.
In North Rhine-Westphalia, Christmas markets in Bielefeld, Bochum, Dusseldorf, Dortmund and Essen, among others, open as early as 23. November. On the Sunday of the Dead or Eternity on 26. November, however, the markets will remain closed.
Commercial interests in the foreground
Also the Protestant church in the Rhineland showed itself annoyed. For the early start of Christmas markets one has no understanding.
"The fact that many a Christmas market in this year’s three-week Advent period opens well before the 1. The fact that the Christmas market opens during Advent is a nuisance in the eyes of the churches and shows that in some communities the connection to the actual reason for a Christmas market has been lost in favor of purely commercial interests," deputy press spokesman Wolfgang Beiderwieden told epd.
In the Essen district of Steele, for example, the traditional Christmas market with around 60 stalls already started on Friday. According to the organizers, it does not end until 7. January. Even on the Sunday of the dead on 26. November, the stalls will open from 6 to 9 p.m. With the Protestant churches in North Rhine-Westphalia the early opening times cause annoyance.
On the banks of the Rhine in Dusseldorf, a Ferris wheel has been turning for weeks, surrounded by Christmas stalls with mulled wine and sausages, which are crowded with visitors. The big Christmas market opens on 23. November. This year, for the first time, it will remain open beyond Christmas until 30 September. December opened. However, it is closed on Totensonntag, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
In Dortmund, Duisburg and Dinslaken, the festively decorated stalls with art, knickknacks, food and mulled wine remain open until the end of the year. In Dinslaken, the Christmas market opens on 18. November, in Dortmund and Duisburg on 23. November. In Bottrop this year’s Christmas magic begins on 16. November with the pre-Advent "Angluhen" and live music. It ends on 22. December. Also there will be sold on the evening of the Sunday of the dead.
Cologne Cathedral does not open until after Totensonntag (Sunday of the dead)
Only after Totensonntag, namely on 27. November, the traditional Christmas market begins at Cologne Cathedral. It ends on 23. December. In Munster, too, Christmas market fans still have to be patient. Here, too, the 27. November until the day before Christmas Eve.
Most Christmas markets in NRW will have more police officers on the road this year, according to information from cities. After the terrorist attack on a Berlin Christmas market last year, police officers are to patrol more frequently. In addition, truck or bus barriers are to be set up in several cities.
Christmas markets important for many people
For most adults in Germany, Christmas markets are simply part of the Advent season. In a representative study by the opinion research institute YouGov, almost three quarters of respondents aged 18 and over said they would like to visit at least one Christmas market this year. Only seven percent said they would "definitely not" go to a Christmas market. Another 16 percent answered "rather no," while the rest did not give an exact answer.
Although more than 80 percent of those surveyed agreed with the statements that Christmas markets are usually overpriced and overcrowded, Christmas markets are important to many people. 73 percent, however, also said they could not imagine an Advent season without Christmas markets. A similar number of respondents (69 percent) said in the YouGov survey: "Christmas markets make me feel contemplative and are a break from everyday life."
Mulled wine stands and sweets
61 percent of respondents, however, felt that Christmas markets were often used to get drunk. When asked what all belongs at a Christmas market, 81 percent again answered: mulled wine stands. Only a minority of 14 percent said: Beer stands.
Also high on the list are fairy lights (for 79 percent of respondents), Christmas trees (78 percent), stalls selling sweets such as cotton candy or roasted almonds (75 percent), food stalls (69 percent), gift stalls (68 percent) and nativity scenes (63 percent). Only 34 percent said in the YouGov survey that they could easily find gifts for Christmas at Christmas markets.
The first Advent falls this year on the 3. December. However, the first Christmas markets in Germany already open around the last weekend in November.