I don't know your own traditions - sometimes they may be related to your country, region, faith but it could be also connected to your family and way of thinking and living - but I know for sure that each year, after I celebrate my birthday (26th of October), I already hear Christmas songs playing... of course firstly just slow tuned inside by brain, my head, then I start humming it, then I start singing parts when I get into the mood - the cheerful jolly one! I love it when others "go bonkers" with me and join in! Some people find it unacceptable to sing Christmas songs in October, November or even early December... hogwash! Christmas should be all year round, not just a single day! One of the things that I love about winter and Christmas is the numerous occasions when I just get out and bump into a Christmas Market. I love Christmas Markets in Poland: they open up always in the last week of November! When you see the stalls being erected slowly you know Christmas is surely down the corner ;) and as surely as the sun rises daily so have the Christmas Markets throughout Poland opened up this week - be it Thursday or Friday.
The Krakow Christmas Markets are numerous and each district has one, but the most well known one and the one that attracts the most crowds and photographers is the Krakow Main Market Square Christmas Market. As you can tell by its name, it is located on the Rynek (PL: Main Market Square) and it has plenty of space for both food, sweets and traditional handmade items stalls. The Rynek is the biggest main square in Europe and it really does give one many treats for the eye: starting with St. Mary's Church (Kosciol Mariacki), St. Adalberts Church (oldest one in Krakow, built on former pagan ground), Sukiennice (the Cloth Hall), the Tower with the Clock, Adam Mickiewicz statue and the place where the oldest bookstore in Europe stands! Every person that visits Krakow inevitably founds it's way to the Rynek, so having the biggest Christmas Market in Krakow at that location was the perfect decision money wise.
The Christmas Market in Krakow Main Market Square opened up on the 24th of November, just the other day, and it will probably stay open until the 26th of December but then be prolonged until the first days of January 2018 but probably with a bit less stands/stalls. They will need some space and time to get ready for the New Year events. That is the occasion in which part of the market usually migrates to the Small Market Square right behind Mariacki Church. The Christmas Market offers everything ranging from food stalls with hot food made there (sausages, kielbasa, pierogi, bread with smalec, oscypek), to stalls with homemade items, to stalls filled with Amber from the Baltic Sea, Bohemian glass, Boleslawiec pottery, furs, Christmas decorations (including some giant baubles for tall and busty trees)... you name it, they probably have it! On the side of Sukiennice there is always a large scene made for the folk tradiional carolers, also there are representations of traditional dances and other performances. We must not forget the Szopki (Polish Nativity Scenes)! Polish people take them very seriously and there is even a contest of whom makes the best One, the prettiest One, the most elaborate! It's at the beginning of December so you can join in as well! :) The stalks of the Christmas Market are usually open between 10 am and 10 pm. Don't miss them out!
Yours very much truly,
The Twisted Red Ladybug That Loves Krakow's Christmas Markets