Traditional Saxon Christmas Cake and Erzgebirge Pyramids
The 576th Striezelmarkt on the old market square, the Altmarkt, directly adjacent to the Kreuzkirche church, will open in the end of November and continue until Christmas Eve. The ornately decorated market stands and the market`s centrepiece, the giant Christmas pyramid from the Erzgebirge Mountains – at 14.61 metres the highest of its kind in the world, as testified in the Guiness Book of Records, provide a special Christmas atmosphere.
An illuminated 13 metre wide ‘Schwibbogen’ (candle arch) forms the entrance to the market and attracts visitors from all over the world to this romantic, cheerful and cosy market with its numerous little squares.Of enduring popularity are the traditional Saxon folk art products that are available on the market stands: indigo-dyed printed textiles and pottery from Lusatia, basketry and Plauen lace as well as carved and turned figures from the Erzgebirge Mountains. There is also great demand for paper advent stars from Herrnhut in Upper Lusatia: these are used to decorate countless homes, churches and streets during Advent and the Christmas season, both providing light and acting as symbols of the Star of Bethlehem. The range of products on offer is rounded off by blown-glass tree decorations from Lauscha in Thuringia and by delicious Saxon culinary specialities.
A highlight of the Striezelmarkt is the Stollenfest. A giant Stollen (a traditional Saxon Christmas cake) weighing around four tons is pulled in a procession from the Zwinger past the Semperoper, Hofkirche and Frauenkirche to the Striezelmarkt. The cake is accompanied by people dressed in costume representing historical characters and by the bakers and confectioners of the Stollenschutzverband (the association which protects the »Stollen« trademark). On the Striezelmarkt the Stollen is cut, under the patronage of the Stollen Maid, using the »Dresden Stollen knife« and is then sold to participants in the festival.