Holiday time in Bavaria is the time for festivity, treats, shopping and tradition. In addition to the region’s world-famous Christmas markets like Nuremberg and Munich, there are some unusual local traditions to celebrate!
Crack That Whip…Winter Be Gone! Aperschnalzer
Dating back several centuries, whip-cracking “Aperschnalzer” occurs between Christmas and Lent in the foothills of the Alps. The aim of this quirky tradition was to drive out the evil forces of darkness (and winter).
Driving Away Evil Spirits in the Allgäu – Klausenstreiben and Bärbelespringen
Each year on December 4- 6, scary figures known as "Klausen" and "Bärbele" wend their way through the villages of the Allgäu. This unusual custom dates to the culture of the Aleman. Wearing fur coats, some adorned with twigs and moss, and heavy cowbells hanging from their belts, masked villagers drive away the evil spirits of winter and spread the blessing of life.
Christmas Markets at Castles, Palaces and an Island
Starting on the days prior to Advent (December 3), Bavarian castles and palaces are filled with lights, shopping stalls, and Christmas aromas. For an even more unusual Christmas market, holiday revelers are invited to an island-based locale.
A visit to the Christkindl market on the Fraueninsel, an island in the Chiemsee, is a very special experience. On the first and second Advent weekends (December 1-3 and December 8-10), enjoy the unique atmosphere of the island enhanced by romantic lighting, festive music and the Christmas aromas of the market with its many stalls. A variety of cultural events include concerts in the minster and Advent choral and instrumental music on the stage.
From November 23 – December 22, the Imperial Courtyard of the Munich Residence provides a setting for a lively Christmas village complete with a chapel and life-size nativity scene. Throughout, numerous artisans demonstrate traditional skills and music pervades. Children enjoy a fairy-tale forest with speaking figures and puppet theater performances.
Castle Christmas at Burghausen Castle takes place from December 15-17. Here, at the world’s largest castle, a selection of market stalls showcase a wide range of items, mulled wine and roasted almonds. Traditional articles such as Christmas tree decorations and nativity figures with stables are available alongside felt and lambskin products and jewelry. Entertainment includes a musical program of Christmas carols and melodies.
Starting November 29, the aroma of mulled wine, roasted almonds, potato pancakes and grilled sausages fills the Schlossplatz in front of city hall and Johannisburg Palace at the Aschaffenburg Christmas market. The huge Christmas pyramids and three-meter-high nutcracker join a Franconian nativity scene with life-size wooden figures. A comprehensive program features alpine music, children’s choirs, and a seniors’ Advent gala in city hall. For children there are carousels, a big wheel and a railway track. Refreshments feature Franconian specialties.
On December 2-3, the medieval Cadolzburg near Fürth celebrates Advent with a traditional artisans’ market in the medieval atmosphere of the castle’s bailey, in the Markplatz and the town center amid historical half-timbered houses. A “Castle Christmas” awaits on December 1-3, 8-10 and 15-17 at Trausnitz Castle. In the magnificent castle, you can enjoy a tour of the more than 90 stalls with their Advent decorations, handicrafts and culinary delicacies.
With 35.4 million guests and 90.8 million overnight stays in the year 2016, Bavaria was able to reinforce its leading position as the number one travel destination in Germany. Shouldn't take more convincing than that to get on a plane to Bavaria right now!
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