A Symbol for Nuremberg: The Origin of the Christkind
The idea that the Christkind brings children their Christmas gifts goes back to the protestant reformer, Martin Luther (1483-1546). In Luther’s time, it was traditional to give children gifts on December 6th, St. Nicolas’s Day. To turn away from the Catholic veneration of saints and saint’s days, Luther laid gift-giving in his household on Christmas Eve. He told his children that "Holy Christ" had brought their presents. This tradition quickly took hold in Lutheran families. In Nuremberg, it was already common by the end of the 16th century.
Through the years, this fictional gift-giver took on form. It was most likely the medieval German tradition of Christmas plays, with an Angel of the Annunciation as the main character, which gave the Christmas Angel its earthly appearance. As angels of all sorts began to be depicted as female and not only male, the Christkind also took on a feminine appearance. That is why today a young woman is chosen to play the part of the Nuremberg Christkind.
Other reports from Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt