Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Hans Christian Andersen Christmas market, 2016



“One of the advantages of living in Odense is that we have the annual Hans Christian Andersen Christmas market.” That was the way I started my blog post about the market back in 2009 and I could do the same this year or any other year. Although I haven’t written about the market since 2009, it doesn’t mean that I don’t attend it every year; this year with my now seventeen-year-old daughter.
As the world-famous fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen is from Odense, Denmark, the market takes place in the old part of town in which he was born. The actual house is a museum today and the streets around it look like they did when Andersen was alive (1805-1875). During the market weekends, people working in the stalls even dress in 19th century costumes to make the illusion complete.
You can buy everything at the market from food and drinks to jewellery and dolls and you can even visit the doll maker’s magical house where the Czech doll maker and actor Patricie Homolová makes the most amazing dolls and puppets for the puppet theatre “Svanen” (The Swan).
At the market, you can get a ride in a horse-drawn carriage, visit the “living museum” where elderly ladies dressed in 1840 costumes demonstrate how lace and Christmas decorations were made back then and if you’re a kid, you can try funfair rides like the merry-go-round or a miniature train ride.
In and around the market square you are sure to bump into acrobats, musicians or members of the Hans Christian Andersen Parade, which consists of children aged 8-18 dressed like characters from Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales. This year I even spotted an old-fashioned night watchman, who was kind enough to pose for me.
However, to me the main attraction is the beautiful spiegeltent (mirror-tent) La Gayola: an Art Deco spiegeltent from 1947, which holds 350 people. It is so beautiful and there is a very special atmosphere inside. Each year we go there to get hot chocolate or mulled wine and the Danish Christmas-speciality “aebleskiver” (apple slices), which has nothing to do with apples nowadays as they are just small cakes of batter cooked over the fire in a special kind of pan to make them totally round. You eat them with powdered sugar and strawberry jam and they taste divine.
As usual, my daughter and I enjoyed our visit to the Hans Christian Andersen Christmas market and I hope you’ll enjoy the photos I took while we were there. I’m sure we’ll be back next year.

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