Carmel Christkindlmarkt to change after two-year hiatus, student, teacher express involvement in maintaining cultural accuracy

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Arthur Mansavage

The Carmel Christkindlmarkt will open to the general public on Nov. 20 after being canceled last year due to SARS-COV-2 safety concerns. Maria Murphy, market master and CEO of the Carmel Christkindlmarkt said, “We really are excited to have our guests back and hope everyone comes and could enjoy the holiday season together.”

Raghav Sriram and Aniket Biswal

The Christkindlmarkt is a longstanding tradition of Germanic culture that celebrates the holiday season with antique shops, food stalls, and gift stores. According to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), historical records show that this tradition dates back to early 1500s Germany, however, has since expanded to other countries and localities including the city of Carmel where Maria Murphy, market master and CEO of the Carmel Christkindlmarkt, said that the fourth annual rendition of the winter market will open on Nov. 20 for the public.

Raghav Sriram

According to Murphy, this custom was brought to Carmel when mayor Jim Brainard visited local markets in Germany during the winter of 2016.

She said, “(Mayor Jim Brainard) saw the Christkindlmarkt in Germany during the winter, and thought, ‘Wow this would be an amazing idea to have on Carter Green.’ So he’s really the visionary behind the concept of bringing it to Carmel.

“(The Christkindlmarkt) is just a wonderful way to get people to (come) to Carmel that haven’t been here,” Murphy said. “It’s just a great thing for the businesses in the area; people go into the hotels, go to the restaurants after they’ve skated, and buy from the shops on Main Street. It’s just a wonderful economic boost to the area.”

According to Jillian Escobar, German Honors Society member and senior, because the Christkindlmarkt is a gateway to German culture for many Carmel citizens, she finds it important to get involved in the planning and preparation of the market.

Ryan Dougal gets a breather after working on the construction of the Carmel Christkindlmarkt all morning. According to Maria Murphy, market master and CEO of the Carmel Christkindlmarkt, more than fifty wooden huts selling authentic German products and foods will be scattered across the market. (Arthur Mansavage)

“The German Honors Society and German club do various decorative tasks for the market, such as tying bows and ribbons to candy canes,” she said. “Helping out and getting involved with the planning of the market is just a great way for us to not only learn more about German culture but also share it with others.”

Additionally, according to Angelika Becker, German Honors Society sponsor and German teacher, another way the German Honors Society is involved with the Christkindlmarkt are through students volunteering during the time the market is publicly open. 

“The other project is that the students go there to volunteer. And there’s different ways to volunteer at the Christkindlmarkt: we help with the beautification, you know, or helping people find their way around,” she said. “And unfortunately, not this year, but in years past, we have translated (for visitors) so that is one of the major things not happening this year.”

According to Murphy, this is not the only change to this year’s market.

“I think the number one difference is going to be this magnificent pavilion that the city of Carmel will put in place this year,” she said. “So the city of Carmel runs a second event that goes from January through March called the Festival of Ice (which uses the ice rink). 

 

“And the ice rink is obviously open during Christkindlmarkt, but the Festival continues without the Christkindlmarkt January through March. And the city was noting that once all the huts are gone after the market, the guests don’t really have a place to lean or anything like that around the ice rink. So they decided to build a pavilion, specifically for the events once the markets are gone. But as they started to do it, they realized, well, since we’re building this for January through March, why don’t we do it as something that can also be used during the market.”

Additionally, Murphy said that the Christkindlmarkt has made adjustments to ensure the safety of all visitors.

“We’re going to have hand sanitizing stations everywhere,” she said. “We’re also changing up the ice skating queue so that we can have more social distancing. While people are waiting, we always had issues with the ice skating getting a little bit crowded, and because of that the queuing for ice skating gets crowded. So, we’ve moved (the waiting line) to the other side of the market and we’ve just added a lot of space and a lot more fencing area for people to social distance and not have to get too close to one another.”

Arjun Purohit

Escobar said she is excited for the reopening of the Carmel Christkindlmarkt and recommends everyone to give it a visit if they get a chance

She said,  “My gosh, I want to go ice skating. I think two years ago, like before the pandemic and everything, was when me and my friends got to use credit cards for the first time. So, we went to the Christkindlmarkt and went ice skating for like an hour or something on that rink, and none of us could skate. And we all fell. I think my foot bled. And it was horrible. It was so cold outside, but I loved it. And so I really want to do that again.”

Zainab Idrees
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