Strasbourg protects the spirit of Christmas

Read us | Listen to us | Watch us | Join Subscribe to our YOUTUBE |


Afrikaans Afrikaans Albanian Albanian Amharic Amharic Arabic Arabic Armenian Armenian Azerbaijani Azerbaijani Basque Basque Belarusian Belarusian Bengali Bengali Bosnian Bosnian Bulgarian Bulgarian Cebuano Cebuano Chichewa Chichewa Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Simplified) Corsican Corsican Croatian Croatian Czech Czech Dutch Dutch English English Esperanto Esperanto Estonian Estonian Filipino Filipino Finnish Finnish French French Frisian Frisian Galician Galician Georgian Georgian German German Greek Greek Gujarati Gujarati Haitian Creole Haitian Creole Hausa Hausa Hawaiian Hawaiian Hebrew Hebrew Hindi Hindi Hmong Hmong Hungarian Hungarian Icelandic Icelandic Igbo Igbo Indonesian Indonesian Italian Italian Japanese Japanese Javanese Javanese Kannada Kannada Kazakh Kazakh Khmer Khmer Korean Korean Kurdish (Kurmanji) Kurdish (Kurmanji) Kyrgyz Kyrgyz Lao Lao Latin Latin Latvian Latvian Lithuanian Lithuanian Luxembourgish Luxembourgish Macedonian Macedonian Malagasy Malagasy Malay Malay Malayalam Malayalam Maltese Maltese Maori Maori Marathi Marathi Mongolian Mongolian Myanmar (Burmese) Myanmar (Burmese) Nepali Nepali Norwegian Norwegian Pashto Pashto Persian Persian Polish Polish Portuguese Portuguese Punjabi Punjabi Romanian Romanian Russian Russian Samoan Samoan Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic Serbian Serbian Sesotho Sesotho Shona Shona Sindhi Sindhi Sinhala Sinhala Slovak Slovak Slovenian Slovenian Somali Somali Spanish Spanish Sudanese Sudanese Swahili Swahili Swedish Swedish Tajik Tajik Tamil Tamil Thai Thai Turkish Turkish Ukrainian Ukrainian Urdu Urdu Uzbek Uzbek Vietnamese Vietnamese Xhosa Xhosa Yiddish Yiddish Zulu Zulu
n747553400_1768887_755530

PARIS (eTN) – Eastern France can be proud of its Christmas traditions and attempts to preserve them can sometimes take a curious approach. ETN reported on December 6 about polemics surrounding St.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

PARIS (eTN) – Eastern France can be proud of its Christmas traditions and attempts to preserve them can sometimes take a curious approach. ETN reported on December 6 about polemics surrounding St. Nicholas festivities as the cities of Nancy and Saint-Nicolas-de-Port decided to register the event as a brand to avoid overcommercialization. Now, this is the turn of Strasbourg with its famous Christkindlmarik (Christmas Market) in Alsacian language.

The market is over four hundred years old – it celebrates in 2010 its 440th edition. It takes place every year from the last week of November until December 31. Its location in front of Strasbourg cathedral turns the market into one the most pictorial in Europe. Some 300 booths offer their products to visitors at 12 different markets. Strasbourg, during this time, is being turned into a truly Christmas capital: 90 Christmas trees decorate Strasbourg main square, including the traditional 28-meter-high Christmas tree on Place Kléber, adn 500 events are organized such as concerts, Christmas carols, and animations.

The market’s economic impact for Strasbourg is extremely important – it attracts over two million visitors every year with revenues for the city reaching an estimated € 160 million (US$200 million), while the local administration spends over € 2.5 million to prepare and decorate. The link by high-speed train to and from Paris brings an additional 200,000 visitors to the Alsace capital during the Christmas Market period.

However, visitors and inhabitants have raised their concern more and more about the market’s over commercialization and its increasing lack of authenticity. Over the years, new businesses have settled down at the various Christmas markets, with booths selling soft and cheap plastic toys, Italian paninis, sandwiches, or Spanish-style churros. Some sellers did not even hesitate to add water to traditional spiced wine.

Talking to the media in early 2010 following the 2009 edition, Strasbourg Mayor Roland Ries highlighted that the city would look back at the event and make it more attractive by being more selective over the booths allowed to participate. Instructions have then been forwarded to turn the Christkindlmarik into a more traditional event. By mid-November, churros and paninis have officially been banned, provocating the anger of some sellers. They estimate to have not known about the ban until late in the season, and were caught unaware, especially as their products were still allowed for 2010 on the list of authorized goods. They also estimate that the ban on churros and paninis will translate into a loss of 20% of their total income.

But the city remains unflexible. Only individual authorizations for the sale of products have a legal value, and the city has issued no authorization for booths selling the infamous churros. For Roland Ries: “The market is neither a fair or a circus-like business. We must preserve the Christkindlmärik’s authenticity to strengthen its attractivity for all visitors.” Instead of soft toys and churros, the city now promises to reintroduce for 2011 local handicraft and choucroute (sauerkraut). A commission will even control all goods sold on the various Christmas markets from 2011. Activities will also be offered to young people to help them learn and better understanding how to create traditional items or food.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email