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The Nuremberg Christkind opens her market

Stadt Nürnberg / Berlin Bernemann

TV-teams report this pre-Christmas event to countries all over the world. People throng the Main Market Square between the Christmas Market stalls. Children crane their necks and stare at the darkened gallery of the Church of Our Lady. At 5.30 p.m. trumpets are blown and a choir from the local music school sings Christmas songs. Finally, the lights are switched on and spotlight the gallery of the Church of Our Lady. In the bright lights, the Nuremberg Christkind recites her famous prologue, opening the Christmas Market.

The opening ceremony has remained the same over the years, but the festive prologue itself was rewritten several times in the 1950s and 60s. We’ve translated the prologue into English for you:

You men and women, who once yourselves were children,
You little ones, life’s journey just beginning,
Each and all, who troubled tomorrow, are full of cheer today,
Pray listen to what Christkind has come to say!

Every year, four weeks before the time,

To decorate the Christmas tree, to celebrate the season,
Appears upon this square, your forebears knew it too,
What you here see, called Christkindlesmarkt by you,

This little town within the town, of wood and cloth made,

Whose short-lived splendor so fleeting seems to be,
And yet it is eternal. My market shall forever young remain.
As long as Nuremberg stands, and the memory of that market’s fame.

For Nuremberg is both old and young at once,

The many features of its countenance beyond all count.
Here this noble square. But now adjoining it,
The tall buildings of today, the factories of the modern world
The new city of so much green. And yet, you men and women true
It will remain forever the Nuremberg that is you.

Now as the old year ends there comes the day,
When wishes can be made and presents given,
When the market shines forth far and wide,
With decorations, and crystal balls, and blessed Christmastide
This you may not forget, you men and women, heed my word,
He who has all needs nothing more,
There are the children of this world and poor,
Who know the best what giving’s for.

You men and women, who once yourselves were children,
Be them again today, happy as children be,
And now the Christkind to its market calls,
And all who come are truly welcome.

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