Friday, 4 December 2015

More Than a Week Ago...

...Ludwigsburg's Christmas market opened.

Opening day is always the Tuesday before the first Advent Sunday, and this year was no exception. My Mum and I love the Christmas market and wanted to go as soon as possible, so our first visit was just in time for the Mayor's opening speech.

He didn't test the audience's patience too much; I think he only spoke for little more than 10 minutes. Of course he reminded us of all those people who have recently come to Ludwigsburg as refugees, and no doubt will keep coming, and how we should not forget about them in all our festive joy.

A girls' choir sang after the Mayor finished his speech, and after one or two songs, a group of people dressed up as King Friedrich I. of Wuerttemberg and his wife Charlotte (an English princess, by the way; daughter of King George III) took the stage, as well as their guards and some other characters from back when there were regular audiences held at the Royal court for the citizens of Ludwigsburg. 


The real Friedrich:
This life-size painting is in Ludwigsburg's palace, in the big throne room (there are also two smaller throne rooms, for more intimate audiences). Friedrich was 2,11 m (6'11'') tall (really!) and weighed around 200 kg (31,5 st), and his portrait measures exactly 2,11 m, too.

They re-enacted a short scene where two or three citizens came before the King to put in a request, and how the King (assisted by his wife) decided. The first one was a woman who had found a baby and wanted to know what to do with the little one. At first, the King ordered to have the baby sent to the town's orphanage. But the woman begged to be allowed to keep the child, and after the King's wife whispered something in his ear, he agreed to let the baby stay with the woman and give her the money that would have been spent for its upkeep at the orphanage.

The girls' choir sung once more, and then the opening ceremony was over, and we could go and have our first favourite food and drink which we always have at the Christmas market.

Here are some more impressions - sorry about the quality, but that is the best my camera can do at night:

Someone has put a Santa's hat on the raised hand of Ludwigsburg's founder, Duke Eberhard Ludwig

During the first week after its opening, I've already been 4 times to the market, usually to eat, but i've also bought a few things that will go into my Christmas parcel to my Yorkshire family.

16 comments:

  1. Ah, I wish I could be there at your Christmas market. But I really appreciate your photos. I especially like the angels and the fox. My sil Ingmar is selling stollen along with his pretzels at our farmer's market during this month. Yumm!
    I also especially liked the story about the woman and the child she had found and that Friedrich not only allowed her to keep the child but gave her the money for his upkeep....And I cannot help but wonder how tall Queen Charlotte was!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The huge angels are Ludwigsburg's trademark decoration. As far as I know, they were specially made and come back every year. I've never seen them anywhere else.
      The fox in the little woodland scene on top of one of the roofs is lovely, isn't it! I am all about foxes this year, somehow, and simply had to take that picture.

      Queen Charlotte was nearly as tall (and heavy) as her husband! When they got married in London, English cartoonist James Gillray produced a caricature of the two, how they struggle to kiss each other across their huge bellies. The caricature is sometimes shown during guided tours at Ludwigsburg palace.

      Delete
  2. This looks like huge fun. My daughter has just gone to Munich for beer and festive markets - I'm very jealous!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No such market near you, Mike? Stuttgart is just a short flight away, you know... and Ludwigsburg is only 14 km north of Stuttgart.

      Delete
  3. Fascinating! Please keep sharing photos of your holiday festivities. I love them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Jennifer, I'm glad you do!

      Delete
  4. I also wish I could be there! Enjoy it for me, Meike! (I know you will!!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right, Kay, I certainly will!

      Delete
  5. Wow that's tall. I suppose for a king in the good (?) old days that may have been a good thing... (looking naturally impressive!) The Christmas market looks cosy. We have storm and rain going on here, I've not been out today and am wondering whether they were able to go through with planned events in our city centre at all this afternoon (crowning of the town's Lucia). I certainly did not find it worth going out for, this year! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember previous posts of yours about the crowning of Lucia, Monica. With storm and rain, it is better to stay home unless you have to go out .
      It was another balmy spring-like day here, and I went out for a run with my friend. It felt great, running by daylight, something we haven't done since September!

      Delete
  6. Gosh are Germans' naturally a tall race of people Meike? Top of the Gene pool me thinks. :)
    Out of interest do you have a German name for your Santa Claus? In England he is traditionally known as 'Father Christmas'.
    The market looks wonderful, I imagine the sights and aromas are fantastic and that's what makes them so special isn't it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can't blame you for getting that impression, Karen - I'm not exactly tiny, either (at 5'8'), but there are plenty of people around here who are smaller :-)
      For us, Santa Claus is Nikolaus, the guy who leaves small gifts in children's boots on the 6th of December. Father Christmas, on the other hand, is the Weihnachtsmann (literally "the Christmas Man") in German. Often, the two merge into one, and people don't really discern between the two. But the traditions behind them are a little different.
      You're right, the scents are often mouthwatering when strolling across the market! It's at its most beautiful in the dark, when everything is lit up.

      Delete
  7. We had a Christmas 'craft fair' in the town hall yesterday (Saturday). They have been going for years and when we had the pottery in the early days we went too. I'm ashamed to say I haven't been to look at one for many years. I must remedy that. I think it'll probably be on again before Christmas.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sounds nice, and I'm sure presents a good occasion to meet friends and neighbours. If you go, it would be nice to read about it on your blog.

      Delete
  8. It looks wonderful. I've never seen the opening of a German Christmas market but it is clearly something that I really need to do. Wish I spoke better German mind you :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Understanding German certainly comes in useful when visiting a German Christmas market ;-) Not so much for shopping - most stall holders speak enough English to deal with tourists from all over the world (and they do come).
      The opening was nice, not too long, not too elaborate, just right to put everyone in the right mood.

      Delete