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One of Germany's oldest Christmas fairs opens
One of Germany's oldest and best known Christmas markets opened its doors in the Bavarian city of Nuremberg on Friday night (November 30). The so-called Christkindlesmarkt (Christ child's market) opened at 5:30 p.m. (1630 GMT), with 17-year-old Nuremberg high school student Rebecca Ammon dressed as an angel reciting the traditional proclamation. On the eve of the first weekend of Advent, marking the start of the Christmas season, some 180 decorated stalls invited visitors to enjoy the Christmas spirit as vendors sell traditional gifts such as wooden toys, sweets and cakes. Nuremberg, some two hours by car north of Munich, is best known for its Christkindlesmarkt and Nuremberg Bratwurst, a sausage made of pork loin, a hit with visitors at the Christkindlesmarkt. The smell of mulled wine, or Gluehwein (pron.: gloo-vine) and Bratwurst filled the air in the town's main square, the Hauptmarkt, as several thousand young and old Christmas shoppers strolled through the alley of stalls. Michael Chilette from the United States who visited the Christkindlesmarkt for the first time called it a "wonderful thing" after he had just "popped a Lebkuchen (ginger bread) covered in chocolate with a cherry inside." The first historical mention of the market was in 1628 and traditionally, the christ child who recites a poem to open the market must be a native of Nuremberg. She is chosen biannually by the readers of a local newspaper. Her speech is delivered from an open gallery at the top of Frauenkirche, facing the market square. This year's Christ child is 17-year-old Rebecca Ammon who had her second -- and last -- appearance in this popular role. The Nuremberg "Christkindlesmarkt" ends on Christmas Eve, December 24, when Germans traditionally celebrate Christmas.