Posts Tagged ‘holidays’
Torontoist’s Emily Macrae looks at the globalization of the Christmas Market.
In a city known for snow, skiing, and hearty cuisine, wooden stalls fill a downtown park to create an annual Christmas market. The scene is Sapporo, Japan, which has hosted a German Christmas Market since 2002.
Japan’s fourth-largest city might seem like an unlikely place to find Bavarian specialties, like pretzels, each December, but the event is a result of Sapporo’s relationship with its sister city, Munich.
Christmas markets have a long history in Germany, dating back to the Middle Ages, with the first written records of the winter festivals appearing in the mid-1600s. Today, there are some 2,500 markets in Germany, and similar practices are found in neighbouring countries.
As anyone who’s wandered through the Distillery District’s Christmas Market can attest, vendors typically sell crafts and other gifts alongside warming food and drink. From glogg (mulled wine) in Denmark to grzane piwo (mulled beer) in Poland, there is no shortage of festive beverages, and Canadian gamay may soon join the ranks of holiday icons.
Sapporo shows that Christmas markets have expanded beyond their origins in Central Europe to become a global phenomenon. So if countless cities across multiple continents boast markets, do these seasonal events contribute to the unique identity of a community or simply entrench each place as an interchangeable site of shopping and off-key songs?
Last night, I paid my $C 6 to get into the Distillery District for the Toronto Christmas Market. It was worth it, for the energy of being out among the crowds enjoying a winter night just cold enough to numb unprotected hands.