Christkindlmarkt (Christmas fair): Fairs held in several Austrian towns in December. In Vienna the first stalls where sweets were sold at Chrismas time existed as early as around 1600 at the "Thomasmarkt" market in the first district: in the "Graben" and "Brandstätte" streets; later (from 1772) on the "Freyung" and (since 1842) "Am Hof" squares. The locations changed again several times between 1920 and 1975 (Freyung, Stephansplatz, Neubaugürtel, Kalvarienberggasse in Hernals and Messepalast centre); since then the main attraction has been the "Great Vienna Christmas Fair" (Großer Wiener Christkindlmarkt) on Rathausplatz square in front of the townhall. Since the late 1980s several smaller Christmas fairs have developed (in the Spittelberg quarter, "Alt-Wiener Christkindlmarkt" on the Freyung square), forming a contrast to the long-established ones, which have become increasingly commercialised. There are also the numerous Christmas markets organised by the parishes (called "Weihnachtsbasare", Christmas bazaars) for charitable purposes.
Literature: F. Czeike, Advent- und Weihnachtsbräuche im alten Wien, in: Wiener Geschichtsblätter, No. 45, 1990; H. M. Wolf, Das Brauchbuch, 1992.
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