From its Puritan roots to complaints of rampant commercialism, Christmas around the world is been filled with traditions, old and new. Some date back to 16th-century Germany or even ancient Greek times, while others have caught on only in modern times.
And, among them, Christmas trees are one of the most popular, now all over the world.
Their tradition is long and rich, and has resulted in some modern trees that run the gamut from breathtakingly beautiful, encapsulating everything that Christmas stands for, to something simply weird.
Thus, If you need a little help to get into the holiday spirit this year, get yourself a winter drink with some holiday treats and a tour of the world’s best or most unusual Christmas trees. These towering pines (or sand or bottle piles, in some cases) are decked to the nines and shine brightly for holiday season, from Florida, Brazil, Mexico all the way to Lithuania.
At dusk, numerous stalls of Dortmund’s popular Christmas market on Hansaplatz are lit up and sparkling. The scents of bratwurst sausages, mulled wine and roasted almonds fill the air and, in the center of it all is the world’s largest Christmas tree!
Dortmunder Weihnachtsmarkt, Dortmund Christmas Market, is held every year in central Dortmund, Northrhine-Westphalia, Germany.
With more than three and a half million visitors and 300 stalls, it is one of the biggest Christmas markets of the world and brings tourists from all over the world to Dortmund. It is estimated that the city benefits of a 100 million Euros profit from this 38-day-long tradition, that normally open in late November and continues until just before New Year’s Eve, on 30 December.
The market’s origins date back to 1878, with a pause between 1939 and 1948.
The Christmas market occupies a large area in central Dortmund, including Alter Markt around the St. Reinold’s Church, Hansaplatz, Kleppingstraße, and Westenhellweg.
There is also Weihnachtsdorf, Christmas Village, in which children can read poems, sing songs, do crafts and even bake, with the puppet theatre, merry-go-round and a huge Santa chair with a Fairy tale show.
In many parts of Germany, there is another tradition, the candle pyramid, brought out every year to light up the room at Christmas. Two to five round wooden tiers, gradually smaller towards the top, are built onto a central rod which rotates, driven by the heat of candles rising up into a rotor at the top.
On each tier there are figures connected with Christmas.
The whole ornament is usually about 50 cm high, but one of the tallest pyramid in the world takes pride of place at the Dortmund Weihnachtsmarkt, towering with its 12m high!
One very well-loved tradition on a cold December night in Dortmund is drinking steaming mugs of Glühwein (mulled wine) at the Weihnachtsmarkt.
The hot red wine spiced with cloves and cinnamon is served in specially decorated mugs, featuring a different design every year and become a collector’s item.
Dortmund had more than 550 years of brewing tradition, some of the oldest breweries in Westphalia are founded around the Old Market in Dortmund.
A new chapter of the breweries are Glühbier (mulled beer), a hot beer with honey, brown sugar and winter spices including star anise, cinnamon and cardamom.
And if you get hungry, you can enjoy Reibekuchen (potato fritters), a delicious treat that may be served with apple sauce, pumpernickel bread, treacle, or another sauce, or Dortmunder Salzkuchen (Saltcake), a Dortmund tradition meal made of bread buns with caraway fruits, salt, meat and onions.
And, if this wasn’t enough, its Christmas Tree is the largest natural Christmas tree in the world with more than 45 meters, and made of 1,700 spruces from Sauerland.
Twenty huge candles and 48,000 lights shine over the Christmas market, and the top is decorated with a four-meter-high angel.
Images from web – Google Research