Christmas market in Mainz
The Christmas market in Mainz, first documented in 1788 as the Nikolose market, takes place from the end of November to 23 December on the historic cathedral squares around Mainz Cathedral, namely on the market with the festively decorated Heunensäule, the Liebfrauenplatz and the Höfchen.
The hay column in the middle of the market serves as a central focal point. This is visually supported by strings of lights that converge on the column.
There is a giant nutcracker figure at the market fountain and, since 2011, an oversized replica of a music box on Liebfrauenplatz in the former choir of the demolished Liebfrauenkirche.
To make it easier to find your way around the Christmas market, the lanes between the stalls on the three squares will also be given Christmas names during this period.
At the transition from the Höfchen to the market is an Advent calendar about 2 meters high. Every day the corresponding door/window is opened and typical Christmas or Mainz motifs appear behind it.
There is a stage on the Liebfrauenplatz. In the afternoon, events for children take place on this stage. Afterwards choirs sing or music clubs play.
The Christmas crib is located on the market behind the Boniface Monument and in front of the St. Gotthard Chapel of Mainz Cathedral. The nativity scene with its life-size lime wood figures is one of the largest of its kind in Europe. The figures were hand-carved and painted by the wood sculptor and artist Sepp Erhard from Unterammergau. Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus were the first figures in the Nativity ensemble from 1981. The commission and financing was taken over by the Schaustellerverband Rheinhessen e.V. – based in Mainz, whose members also set up and dismantle the nativity scene every year. By 1988, the original group had been expanded to include the Magi, shepherds, an angel and animals.
The eleven-metre-high Christmas pyramid, which has been produced by an Erzgebirge wood art company since 2002 with the financial support of the Christmas market suppliers, is located at the Höfchen. The Christmas pyramid has five levels. In addition to the typical figures of a Christmas pyramid, there are also typical Mainz figures on it, including on the first level: The Schoppestecher, a footballer from Mainz 05, Det from the Mainzelmännchen, a carnivalist, and a runner from the Gutenberg Marathon.
On the second, third and fifth level there are typical winter and Christmas figures, such as two children building a snowman or Santa Claus with a sack on his back.
The fourth level again contains Mainz figures, these are:
- The inventor of letterpress printing Johannes Gutenberg with the Gutenberg Bible in his hand
- City architect Eduard Kreyßig with a model of the Christuskirche in his hand.
- The Bajazz with the lantern (Bajazzo and Mainzer Fastnacht)
- Bishop (Diocese of Mainz)
- The Roman city goddess Moguntia (Mogontiacum)
Runners of the Gutenberg Marathon
In 2009, the footballer figurine disappeared on the night of the derby match between Mainz 05 and Eintracht Frankfurt. Almost a year later, the dismembered figure was delivered in a package to the Mainz 05 office. In the meantime, however, a new figure had been commissioned in the Erzgebirge region and assembled in Mainz. After it was returned, the upper half of the dismembered figure adorned the office of the head of the office responsible for market affairs at the Mainz city administration.
In some years, the city, together with the Allgemeine Zeitung, Sparkasse Mainz, Mainzer Volksbank and EuroMint, issues a Christmas coin in two different coinages (silver and gold). The sales price includes a donation.
- 2013: Illustration of the Korbgassen Madonna / Christmas market with Heunensäule and cathedral
In a study conducted by the University of Applied Sciences South Westphalia in 2012, which asked “Who has the most attractive Christmas market?”, visitors found the Christmas markets in Wiesbaden, Karlsruhe and Mainz to be particularly Christmassy.
In December 2013, the city of Mainz honored 20 Christmas market exhibitors for 20 years of loyalty with the plaque: “Mainzer Weihnachtsmarkt – Traditionsbetrieb”. Two exhibitors have even been present since the new edition of the Christmas market in 1974.
After the 2013 Christmas market season, many contracts with the previous stall operators expired and the city council advertised for a new award of stalls. Many of the previous businesses, which had previously been awarded for their long-standing tradition, were no longer considered in this award process. During the St. John’s Night, a list with over 3000 signatures was handed over to the responsible department head of the city, who was in favour of keeping the previous traditional businesses. A similar controversy arose in the city of Münster in 2014 when the market stalls were put out to tender again.
After the administrative court stopped the procedure for the award of the stand at the request of some rejected applicants, the city had to reopen the bidding process. The market vendors could then apply again until mid-September, the city of Mainz sent out corresponding commitments for the Christmas market until mid-October 2014, and the market then opened regularly on 27 November 2014.
More Christmas Markets in Mainz
On the Bahnhofplatz in front of the main station there is also a small Christmas market, here are mainly stalls selling food and drinks.
Christmas markets are also held in the individual districts.
Mombach will start on the Friday before the first Advent, followed one day later by the districts of Drais, Finthen, Marienborn and Ebersheim.
Gonsenheim holds the market on Saturday and the first Sunday of Advent. Only on the first Advent the markets in Hartenberg-Münchfeld as well as Laubenheim take place.
The Bretzenheim Christmas Market takes place on the second weekend of Advent. The finale is the one in the district of Hechtsheim on the third Advent weekend (Saturday and Sunday).
In addition, further Christmas markets are held at Schillerplatz and Neubrunnenplatz in Mainz-Altstadt, but these are approved as special uses and not within the framework of the market statutes.
- Andreas Nöthen Stolen “05er” delivered in pieces to the office. In: Mainzer Rhein-Zeitung, 18 November 2010
- Michael Bermeitinger “It’s like coming home” – Next week the stall city opens under the tent of lights / Christmas stall presented. In: Allgemeine Zeitung Mainz; p. 13 of 20 November 2013
- Who has the most attractive Christmas market? South Westphalia University of Applied Sciences, 19 November 2012
- Martin Senne City honors Christmas Market exhibitors for years of loyalty / Some have been there since the 1974 premiere. In: allgemeine-zeitung.de, 5. December 2013
- Michael Bermeitinger Christmas Market Mainz: After honoring the ejection – anger and despair over new allocation of stalls.(Memento of 13 December 2017 in the Internet Archive) In: allgemeine-zeitung.de, 6 June 2014
- Monika Nellessen, Michael Erfurth, David Sauer Mainz Christmas market: traditional businesses should stay – 3,000 signatures collected.(Memento of 13 December 2017 in the Internet Archive) In: allgemeine-zeitung.de, 8 July 2014
- Gabriele Hillmoth Debate about the Christmas market: an end without an announcement. In: wn.de (Westfälische Nachrichten), 25 July 2014
- City accepts decision of the Administrative Court: Administrative Court stops procedure for awarding stands / City prepares new award procedure/ Sitte: “Aim remains opening of the Christmas market on 27 November”(Memento of 18 December 2014 in the Internet Archive) Press release of the City of Mainz of 13 August 2014
- Mainz Christmas Market: City reallocates stalls. In: swr.de, 22 August 2014
- Alexandr Darnev: Bratwurst and a visit from Santa Claus – Associations invite you to the city districts starting this weekend. In: Allgemeine Zeitung Mainz; Edition: Wednesday, 27 November 2013; p. 12
– Collection of pictures, videos and audio files