Best Christmas Markets in Romania
Well, finally the last month of the year has arrived: sweet December (and you can consider it literally if you think about all the gingerbread, the sponge cake, the mulled wine and all the other special flavours so typical for this month). Some of you might think moreover about the traffic jam caused by the weather and having to clean each day their cars and parking spaces because of snow. And that is why I find them quite grumpy (to use an euphemism), because, if you ask me, December is probably the most beautiful month in the whole year. I cannot explain exactly why, but is something in the air that makes people more excited, thankful, hopeful and kind.
In Romania, we take December pretty seriously as there are so many traditions and superstitions related to the holidays that we celebrate this time of the year. And believe me, is quite hard not to respect them if you have a grandmother like mine who still keeps them religiously, I might say, making me to do the same. Fortunately, there are many grandmothers like mine in Romania, thanks to whom the winter holidays are so special. But more about these traditions, I will talk about in a future article. There are too many charming stories, legends and superstitions to mention and I need to offer them the appropriate attention.
Besides, the local traditions, Romania started little by little to adopt some others in addition to the existing ones. One of the most beautiful and appreciated one is the so called Christmas Market, already so common in Western countries as Austria, Czech Republic or Germany.
So, the Christmas market is known as a street market which is associated with the celebration of Christmas and lasts about 4 weeks. These markets are originally from Austria, Germany, Northern Italy and Eastern part of nowadays France. It is hard to say where the Christmas market was for the first time held as Germany and Austria claim the “world’s oldest” title, but we do know that nowadays, the Christmas market might be the best reason to spend the holidays in Europe.
Little by little Eastern European countries started to adopt and adapt these celebrations.
Sibiu Christmas Market
The first Christmas Market in Romania was held in Sibiu, in 2007 when the city was the European capital of Culture. It was the first of its kind in Romania and inspired by Viennese Christmas markets, being a project developed by the Social Attaché of the Austrian Embassy in Romania. It was organized in the Small Square with small stalls, a small stage and an area dedicated to children, having several mechanical attractions installed there. One year later, the market was held in the “Large Square” with a larger number of stalls and a bigger stage where Christmas carols concerts were held.
It was the first Christmas Market in Romania and soon other Christmas markets were organized across the country. In 2012, Sibiu Christmas market was included in top “15 Of the Most Beautiful Christmas Markets in Europe”.
Here you can find more details regarding Sibiu Christmas Market which takes place from 20th of November 2015 until 3rd of January 2016, between 10:00 am and 10:00pm.
Have a look over some other Christmas markets that are held in Romania this winter:
Bucharest Christmas Market
The 4th edition of Bucharest Christmas Market comes this year with many surprises, festive events, concerts and dance performances, gifts for loved ones, traditional decorations and products from all regions of the country.
The University Square in Bucharest will turn into a magical Christmas village beautifully decorated with over 50,000 lights and architectural projections on the historical buildings. There will also be the traditional Christmas fir tree, 15 meters high, decorated with Christmas candies, bells and lights.
Thus, for one whole month, at the Bucharest Christmas Market people can buy from traditional objects made of painted ceramics, carved wood, icons and embroidery to different costumes and masks, wooden toys, musical instruments and hand-painted decorations. Probably the most “delicious” gifts will be the traditional food, part of it being cooked and served at the spot (traditional warm Romanian food, sponge cake, mulled wine, gingerbread, hot cakes, fruit jam, honey, syrup, etc.). We strongly recommend to leave your diet on holiday when you visit the Christmas Market. As much as I like this subject which is very close to my heart… and stomach, we should continue with some other surprises.
Also, some of the craftsmen will allow the curious to admire their talented hands making jewelries, glass or traditional embroidery. Believe me, it is way more exciting than “How it’s made?” series.
The Christmas atmosphere will be “sweetened” by the voice of the folk singers but also some great rock bands (to the amateurs’ delight).
More details and the full program can be found here.
The market is open from the 27th of November 2015 to 27th of December 2015, between 11:00 am to 10:00 pm.
Brasov Christmas Market
The fairytale atmosphere will certainly delight you in Brasov, Kronstadt, at the Christmas Market. The fair offers visitors the chance to buy from the local producers handicrafts and gifts: figurines, candles, toys, wood carvings, Christmas tree ornaments and masks etc. Everything takes place in the old city center, the Council Square, at the foothills of Tampa Mountain.
If you’re one of the lucky ones who get to this fair, you can taste the teas flavored with orange and cinnamon, baked apples and other savory snacks. Also in the Christmas market from Brasov there will be performances with masks, customs and the traditional Christmas carols, dances and folk music recitals.
Cluj-Napoca Christmas Market
Cluj Napoca is another beautiful city which, in 2015, was declared the European Capital of Youth.
Here, the Christmas Market will be inaugurated on the National Day of Romania, 1st of December 2015, in the Union Square and will last until 26th of December 2015. The festive atmosphere will be maintained by groups and school assemblies, 40 music bands and artists who will sing carols, traditional music, folk, rock, pop and opera.
What new and unique about this edition of the Fair is that on the 9th, 14th and 15th of December, the choirs from the city’s churches – the Orthodox Church, Roman Catholic Church, Greek Catholic Church, the Reformed Church and Evangelical churches will perform in front of the people.
In the Union Square, there are located 40 Christmas boxes where people can buy from glazed almonds and nuts, cakes, tea or mulled wine with cinnamon.
On 10th of December there will be a special event called “EBS – The Voice Of Children ” worthy of the Guinness World Records, organized in collaboration with Transylvania College. Over 1,000 children from 26 schools in Cluj, along with another 200 from abroad, will sing “ one of the most beautiful Christmas songs entitled “That’s Christmas to me.” Students from nine countries of the world will join the Union Square through two monitors located in the Square. It will be even more exciting when all the lights will be turned off for a few minutes and the only source of light will be represented by over 1,000 lanterns.
The Christmas Market in Cluj Napoca takes place from the 1st of December until the 26th of December 2015.
Here you can find out more about the events which will take place at Cluj Christmas Market.
Suceava Christmas Market
Once you get to Suceava, you are officially in Bucovina, a gorgeous and very picturesque region of Romania, where people really know how to celebrate Christmas. So, things are little more “complicated” here. Thus, for more than one month, there are different kinds of fairs, traditional markets, folk concerts all over the area.
The Christmas Fair in Suceava will take place from the 6th of December 2015 – the 10th of January 2016 in front of the Palace of Culture and in Suceava Shopping City. On the 22nd of December 2015 there will be a concert of Christmas carols performed by different local groups.
On the 27th of December 2015, there will be a parade of masks, at which groups of children and adults from the area will participate.
In the same time, other traditional fairs will take place in Gura Humorului and Campulung Moldovenesc, two important cities of Bucovina.
These are only couple of cities where the Christmas Markets are organized. These, combined with a ski holiday or simply a cultural visit in Romania, will definitely make your trip!