I am from the Midwest. I grew up in Ohio and have lived in Missouri for 20 years. Quite a few of us midwesterners have surnames that originated in Germany. According the the 2000 U.S. Census, almost 48 million people, or 17% of the population in the United States could trace their major ancestral country of origin as Germany. I do know that on my mom’s side of my family tree, that two families moved from Germany in the 1850s and both families, the Hoffman’s and the Seither’s, ended up in Northwest Ohio. My husband’s family tree, has Koch’s and of course our surname, Giesey, is German. With all of this Germanic heritage flowing in our family’s veins, one would think I would know what a Christkindl Markt is.
I had never really heard of one until I happened to take my visiting parents to Hermann, Missouri last Autumn. Hermann was settled by intrepid German immigrants who happened to love wine and having vinyards in their front yards. As we toured the quaint town that is quite proud of their heritage, we heard about their upcoming Christkindl Markt. I thought about traveling back to Hermann this year to see their Christkindl Markt but then I found out that Rolla is going to have, for the very first time, their very own Christkindl Markt! Rolla’s is this Saturday, December 7th. The fun starts at 11:00 am, right after the Christmas Parade and will last until 7:00 pm. The location will be at Public House Brewing Co.’s parking lot. Click on the following link to read more about Rolla’s Christkindl Markt. http://www.visitrolla.com/event-calendar/events.php
So just what is a Christkindl Markt? What does it have to do with Germany and anyone’s German heritage? From the bit of research that I did, Christkindl Markts began in the Middle Ages in Germany, Austria, and the Alsace region of France(even though my dad’s ancestors came from France, they came from this German-influenced region!) Christkindl Markts were, and still are, held at the beginning of Advent, the four week time period leading up to the celebration of Christmas. At these markets, one can purchase delicious foods to eat, buy special decorations, ornaments, nutcrackers, myriads of items to help one celebrate the Christmas season.
Rolla has its own German Club and it has a sister city, Sonderhausen, Germany. This year’s Christkindl Markt is dedicated to Sonderhausen, and one activity at the Markt is that children can make ornaments that will be sent to Sonderhausen to help in decorating their city’s Christmas Tree, or should I say, Tannenbaum?
For a fun family outing, bundle up and venture out on Saturday to watch the annual Christmas parade and then mosey on over to the Public House Brewing Co. and visit the Christkindl Markt!