Now I’m truly ready for Christmas. Because I met the Nuremberg Christkind. A first encounter in town this past Tuesday was just catching a glimpse of her walking by and a quickly snapped iPhone image from the distance. Today I got up close with seventeen year old Benigna Munsi, who was elected in November for her two year term as the Christ Child of Nuremberg, during the Advent season the most important representative of the city and its traditional Christkindlesmarkt.
We met while she visited the nursing home of my Mom (thanks Dad for giving me a hint about the visit), and I was blown away by her friendliness towards the elderly, putting a festive glow in the old eyes. After seeing how kindly she treated my heavily handicapped Mom, I understand why the city is raving about our new Christkind.
The Christ Child is the symbolic figure for Christmas in Nuremberg, curled blond with a golden crown and a magnificent white and gold robe. The “Christkind” traditionally opens “his” Christmas market on the main city square in the Old Town on the the Friday before the first Advent with a festive ceremony.
The other tasks in the four-week period before Christmas include regular appearances at the famous Christmas market and the nearby children’s Christmas area. But more important are the more than 150 appointments with charitable institutions. Visits to kindergartens, nursing homes for the elderly and disabled and hospitals provide a lot of joy. Shortly before Christmas, the Christ Child also hands out presents to the little patients in Nuremberg’s children’s hospitals. Unfortunately, Big Girl, who works as a pediatric nurse, will miss the occasion as she is already off work.
There has been an annual Christkind since 1933, which was played by actresses until 1968. Since 1969, every two years a young woman from the city, who must be at least sixteen years old, is elected as Christ Child for a two year term. The preceding Nuremberg Christ Child also annually opens the Christkindlesmarkt in Chicago.
I truly hope you all are ready for the festive season as well!
Have a great Sunday!