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The lights are going up, the baubles are coming out, but your Christmas preparation cannot be complete without visiting a Christmas market. Sleigh bells ring and chestnuts are roasted on an open fire whilst the aroma of mulled wine fills the air, and the markets are full of Christmas spirit.
Christmas markets date back to the late Middle Ages, where it was less about the giant inflatable Santa’s and more about the foods that were on offer. They originated in German-speaking European countries, with the earliest known Christmas-themed market appearing in Munich in 1310. Usually the markets were open during the four weeks of advent (a little longer nowadays) and would be held in the town square, where people would be selling food, drink and Christmas items.
The Christmas markets had always been popular in Britain until Parliament forbade the celebration of Christmas along with other holy days in the 1640’s. But, have no fear; as soon as the monarchy was restored in the 1660’s, the traditions were put back in place and the markets thrived once more! Much later, in the 19th century, the Victorians were well known for holding their Christmas markets, and nowadays, it seems that the more traditional the market, the more popular.
Now people sit for hours on a coach or spend the morning catching trains to see the sparkling Christmas lights at a Christmas market near them. But why waste time travelling miles for that hot chocolate when there are so many interesting markets nearby?
You can wrap up in your woolly scarf and visit one of Lancaster’s many Christmas markets instead! From the 24th to 27th of November you can trundle into Lancaster town and follow the trail of fairy lights to the castle, where there will be a magnificent modern market. This market will be selling all sorts of exciting items, from handbags to Turkish delight. Then, later in the term, from the 11th to 13th December, there will be a more traditional market during Christmas at the Castle to really get you in the Christmas mood. Whether you go to start your Christmas shopping or just to have a look at the lights and gifts, it is a great break from studying and perfect for perking you up from the winter blues!
Even closer to home, Lancaster University have their own Christmas market on campus. LUSU’s Christmas market will be held on the 4th of December in Alexandra square from 12-9pm. Previous markets have seen real live reindeer, carol singing, a Christmas wish tree and more freebies than you know what to do with. There are also numerous stalls selling lots of goodies to stock up on for presents or just to buy to treat yourself! It is certainly worth a visit, and the mulled cider alone is enough to haul you out of bed and into the cold!
So whether you are venturing out to Manchester to see the huge market that aligns the streets or staying local in Lancaster, the Christmas markets can be enjoyable for everyone! They have been around since the Middle Ages and, despite their development, still give off that historic festive feeling.