Calendar

December: Christmas all around

World-class cultural highlights, top international cuisine, exclusive shopping worlds and spectacular surroundings: Munich has a lot to offer in every season of the year. Here you will find a few additional and individual ideas for each month of the year.

Mulled wine, sausages and the Christ Child

Here in Bavaria, we call Christmas markets “Christkindlmärkte”. In Bavaria, the Christkind (Christ Child) is the person who delivers gifts, not Father Christmas. At least one glass of mulled wine with an extra shot is an essential part of any trip to a Christkindl market. Even Christmas sceptics who prefer to stay away from the hustle and bustle of the festive period may start to get into the Advent spirit after their third cup. For a unique experience, try the Medieval Market at Wittelsbacher Platz, where you can enjoy fresh mead. A huge cauldron full of Feuerzangenbowle (a special type of mulled wine made with rum-soaked sugar) simmers at Isartor gate. Spöckmaier’s Christkindl-Stube at Sternenplatzl hands out mugs of mulled beer. And if you’re feeling hungry after all that excess, then you should take a detour to Sendlinger Tor, where many people say you’ll find the best hot dog in the city. The Regensburg Spezial is served with sweet mustard and horse radish. Fans of vegetarian food need look no further than the array of food stalls at Tollwood festival. Shoppers looking for a last-minute gift are also sure to find something here. The selection ranges from hats and natural cosmetics, swings and metallic art to musical instruments. And yes: there is plenty of mulled wine, too (just in case).

 

Christmas concerts in Hercules Hall

You don’t even need music to be impressed by your surroundings. Herkulessaal (Hercules Hall) in the Residenz palace is one of Munich’s finest ballrooms with its high ceilings, huge stage, stone elements, and tapestries of Greek motifs. The interior décor is magnificent and stately; no wonder as the hall once served as Ludwig I’s throne room. However, when you add some music, then the magic of Herkulessaal really comes to life. The acoustics in this hall are outstanding. Its Christmas concerts are particularly popular; they are geared towards the entire family, including newcomers to classical music and connoisseurs alike. To bring the event to a festive end, there is a Christmas carol sing-a-long. Until the Gasteig cultural centre opened in 1988, Herkulessaal was the city’s most important venue for classical music. It can hold around 1,400 people. Because the Residenz sustained heavy damage during the Second World War, Herkulessaal was rebuilt in a Neoclassical style in 1953. Tickets are available from outlets such as München Ticket.

Don’t get scared: Perchtenlauf processions

When Christmas is around the corner and the nights start to draw in, evil spirits begin to leave their hiding place. Or so people used to believe in the olden days, leading to the tradition of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Every evening, they would fill their homes and stables with smoke in the hope of driving away any ghosts. While people no longer believe in smoking away spirits, the tradition remains in place. One of the highlights of the Twelve Days of Christmas is an event known as Perchtenlauf, a procession of people dressed as demons or witches. Disguised in terrifying wooden masks and shaggy fur coats, they caper through the streets and alleyways at night. In the town of Berchtesgaden, these spooky figures are known as Buttnmandl and Kramperl. On the first Sunday of Advent, they make their way through the Loipl district in the Buttmandllauf (Buttmandl procession); on the second Sunday, they head to Winkl. And when darkness begins to fall on St Nicholas Day (6 December), they bring their mischief to almost all areas of town. The Twelve Days of Christmas end on Epiphany on 6 January.

More about this: Munich has many locations which dazzle visitors with their unique lighting features, designs and moods. Here are just a few of them.

 

 

Text: Nansen & Piccard; Photo: Christian Kasper