The eternal magic of Christmas integrated with the proud standing upon a historic legacy- totally makes for an enchanting Xmas tale encountered along a mystical trail worth exploring!
That distinction rests with the German town of Dresden, already starry eyed in its stupor steeped in the sparkles with which Christmas is so synonymous. Steeped thus in the significance of the very Christmas spirit in essence- one that honours indeed the graciousness of the Good Lord Jesus by spreading the Christmas cheer far and wide is the German identity that which is the premise of origin for so many of the traditions and rituals inextricably related to this charming celebration of so many of life’s utterly precious relevances. Move ahead of the significance and indulge instead in the exclusive auraof the aesthetics marking the world this time of the year and Christmas is still more than buoyant in one of its very definite ruling arising out of the German expanse.
From the most prominent element of such celebrations- the ubiquitous Christmas tree being but an essentially German arising to also the as quintessential Christmas ornaments spreading their glittery glow from upon much delightful dawning along this same ‘nationality’, the standing up to the generously global curation of the carnival like character of Christmas wouldn’t have been the exquisite experience that it is today. Which is why it stems as so gratifying an acknowledgment of the German grandeur endowed upon the yuletide unfurling that another of the most fancied occurring of the Christmas merriment essentially encompasses another very fascinating treading of the wonder that Deutschland is.
With also the distinction of hosting one of the first genuine Christmas markets of the world, Germany continues to sparkle in all the show of its Christmas love. From within the distinctive dimension of Dresden flows this another alluring stream of the Chrissy vibes, resplendent indeed in very deserving such origins attributed to what had been once known as the Jewel Box itself. Asserting therefore through as definitive an identity of the Striezelmarket is this more than half a millennia old market drenched in all the allures of what Christmas is indeed in all its beauty.
The oldest Christmas market indeed in the whole of Germany, being also as it is one of the oldest such specimens in the world, the Striezelmarkt was founded in the year of 1434. Back then, it was a one day phenomenon that came to be first on the Monday before Christmas. The extravaganza that it today is as an entire Advent long feature however did not guide the origins of what stemmed as a meat market to prep for the grand Christmas feast. The present day essence and name of its distinctive identity wouldn’t be a true representation therefore of the humble beginnings but it sure is one that dawns upon this historic indeed feature even greater an appeal of very evident Christmassy cheer.
A 3 million strong attendance backs the claim of a distinguished prevailing in which the Striezelmarkt asserts its humongous reputation worth scouting out along some 240 stands that sum up its yearly happening. Deriving indeed upon the many an elements of the ornaments and the candies and the cakes and the wines that Christmas embodies as essential celebration of its spirit would be this much popular Altmarkt event of so much anticipation. Anticipated as well might also be the ‘flavor’ of the market itself that sees itself spanning an identity of some irresistible Christmas deliciousness.
Delightful indeed would be Striezelmarkt in its assertion from which emanates the unmissable whiffs of what is a very customary Christmas cake. Struzel or Stroczel serves as the basis for the market to assume its definite character, with this particular bake of a light airy fruitcake sold within the premises iconising indeed itself through this namesake celebration of its distinctiveness. In fact so identitive is the Dresden Stollen in its characteristic low sugar rising that is rendered even more prominent with its residing in a sealed specification. Depicting Augustus II, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland would be the Stollen which emerges also as essentially in its shape as the entrance to a mine tunnel. That might be quite an unusual sight for something as dainty as a cake to find presentation but along this run of the uniqueness would also be a certain significance that dictates throughout the whole Striezelmarkt distinction.
Reflecting first and foremost the truest identity of Dresden itself is the market that draws extensively upon its mining history. Not only the cake after which it is ‘modelled’ but also other features of this of the largest Christmas markets continue to represent the eminent identity of Dresden as being a dwelling around the Ore Mountains where silver and tin were discovered as early as in the 12th century. Most prominent among such allusions would be the many wooden Christmas ornaments still sold in the market as symbols of that once predominant essence. Heritage and history therefore characterise indeed the iconic Striezelmarkt in its entirety, in and beyond the Christmas flair as well.
Indeed the charms and sights of Christmas is what continues to dominate proceedings at this expanse spreading over half a mile of the Dresden expanse. Exuberant in the lights and hues of the magical season, steeped in the scents and aromas permeating the festive air in all decadence and evoking as well the spirit of divinity and a feel of awe in the depiction of the Nativity scene for instance among numerous such other repesentations is the Striezelmarkt that makes for a definite escape into fantasyland. Everything from puppet theaters and merry go rounds to elf cottages and even the charming Santa Claus haven make for elements of exquisite expression for the specific 25 days yearly in this part of the town, conjuring up images of fairytalesque vibes indeed.
Even in such fantastical residings though, Strietzelmarkt continue to chart also the heights of distinction in as worldly alludings. With the tallest Christmas pyramid holding up that reputation in its 14.61 metres of height and the world’s largest usable Christmas arch following that up with its as imposing image of a 13.5 by 5 metres, it sure isn’t just the stars and glitters that deck up the grand premises of the Strietzelmarkt in all glamour. And yet, the gleams never dim throughout the entire length of time in which Dresden comes alive in its panoply of the beauties. Extravagance is the hallmark indeed of this very illustrious Christmas spectacle, with special events like the Dresden Stollen Festival and the Pyramid and Christmas Arch Festival capturing special attention with their weekend occurrence.
Very intriguingly rendering also of the Christmas character is a magically manifesting phenomenon curated to charm from upon the premises of a wooden fairy tale castle. Designed specifically for it to function as a giant Advent calendar itself with every one of its doors opening on specific days counting the dates of the Advent period, this holding in place the traditions of Christmas is another very exclusive specialty of the Striezelmarkt. And so would be the Fridays through which it continues its march with the times, with Father Christmas himself making for visits in true representation indeed of what Christmas necessarily is.
Seeking out the true essence of Christmas therefore could not be any more enriching an experience elsewhere than what could be availed from out of the celebrated continuation of Germany’s Striezelmarkt. This centuries long prevalence as part of the greater Dresden identity would also emerge as equally immersive a worthy Christmassy doing for one to appreciate the sumptuousness as well of the celebrations. Apart from the delightfully fluffy definiteness of the spiced and nutty Stollen bread, which is very versatile a treat in its becoming also through a cake like essence, while being an exclusive specialty of only a 110 Dresden bakers, the historic market is also done up in its other more cake specific bake.
The Pulsnitzer Pfefferkuchen is the other assertion of Christmas flavor very characteristic to this domain, but one that asserts again as alluding to a dual identity. Asserted as bar cookies or cake molded cookies would be these traditional treats very essential to the German celebration of the festival as so specific a something that takes upon also the specific Weihnachten name. Pfefferkuchen translates literally as pepper cake and the one sold at Strietzelmarkt as a customary almost goodie comes from the town of Pulsnitz. The nature of its occurring would be one resonating with the gingerbread classification but with ginger missing out from the entire curation of its creation, this is another uniquity indeed.
Unique also are the ‘requirements’ through which the Pulsnitz variant of the Pfefferkuchen find form out of a fat devoid dough loaded though with the spices of what pepper originally alluded to as any new foreign spice. The dough infused with nutmeg and cinnamon and ground cloves and allspice is left for up to 6 months to mature before it can emerge as the iconic treat delighting one and all discovering upon this bite of difference oozing some marmalade or jam from within its chocolate covered surface. Profuse indeed in the flavors of what this immensely festive indulgence delivers, and equally abundant in its essence outside of taste, being as it is a traditionally handcrafted variety of gingerbread significant as well in own history, the Pulsnitz Pfefferkuchen only ends up furthering the extents of exquisiteness upon which the Striezelmarkt has established its basis in dynamicness.
Another treat that manifests as markedly different a recognition in which the Striezelmarkt throws open its avenue in diverse experiencing happens to be of a quirkier character. ‘Characters’ indeed would sum up the visage of what Pflaumentoffels present themselves as edible figurines of probably ‘stupid, clumsy persons’ specifically displaying their eccentricity along the stalls of what dictates the Christmastime proceedings in Dresden. These appear in the form of chimney sweeps and are more likely to adhere to the decorative dimension of which the festival is abundantly exploring. But the prune make of these Pflaumentoffels mean that these are edible also creatures serving dual purpose in gratifying the human senses.
Plum Devils are what they find literal translation as, while concocted up in viewing as dressed in black chimney sweeps, complete with a top hat and a brush. Needless to say in such assuming of character that for sure far outdoes the intent of their eating, Pflaumentoffels emerge as another one of the unique features that steeps Striezelmarkt even more in a character of its own distinction. Complementing such uniqueness would be a far more general Christmas prevalence, finding expression as the warm spirit of what Christmas is celebrated in harbouring, derived out of the sipping upon steaming mugs of the hot red, spiced wine Gluhwein to sum up a Christmastime rendezvous specifically charming in it flowing through the historic lanes of the Striezelmarkt identity.