Gunther Hirschfelder

Culture in the Field of Tension between Tradition, Economy and Globalization: The Metamorphoses of Christmas Markets

Die Metamorphosen der Weihnachtsmärkte


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Christmas Markets as an expression of a new type of interaction in the course of the year have become increasingly important since the 1990s in Germany, even though precursors date back to the early modern period. Current types include tradition-based mega-markets with event character, markets in small- and mediumsized towns with varying degrees of commercialization, temporary Christmas bazaars and historicizing markets. Staged and decorated installations in malls, scene specific markets and winter markets largely emancipated from the occasion are the most recent manifestations. They share a backdrop, which picks up Christian symbols, but develops them further. Space-bound references take a backseat just as much as Christian symbolism and new figurines like moose and reindeer replace them. The guiding perspective changes from the Christian festival to the season, whereas carnivalization and even more commercialization increase. Economy appears here in a new dimension as factor that determines and creates culture. A clear symbolism is used by an interest group to make economic interests marketable. Tradition and regionality are constructed, and with the accelerated distribution by means of media and advertising a dissociation of the cultural pattern from the context follows and the perception as old.

practices, ritual, event, christmas, christmas markets, commerzialization, economy, tradition, globalization, carnivalization

APA citation
Hirschfelder G. (2014). Kultur im Spannungsfeld von Tradition, Ökonomie und Globalisierung: : Die Metamorphosen der Weihnachtsmärkte. Zeitschrift für Volkskunde, 110(1), 1-32.