My last visit to Nuremberg was the summer of 1973 to visit the house of Albrecht Durer. The medieval charm of the city was attractive; however never did I dream I would be there during Advent, sharing in the festivities. When I boarded the bus in Prague in the early hours of the morning my imagination was all fired up about seeing the Christkind, that is the Golden Angel, who would lead the lantern procession of the children in the evening. When I arrived early afternoon I set out on walking tour so I would be in front of the cathedral for the three o’clock appearance of the angel.
At three o’clock on the minute The Golden Angel appeared on the stage before the cathedral. Her appearance brought even more excitement in the air already filled with energy. The children listened to her and then they came and got chocolate from her. She is quite the institution in the Nuremberg Christkindlmarkt. She will be slated for an evening appearance.
The evening was quickly arriving and everything began to light up.
Around five a brass band began to play. Because my feet were cold I went into the church and could hear the band performing some of my favorite Advent hymns: How Brightly Beams the Morning Star, The King Shall Come When Morning Dawns, and of course my favorite Christmas carol, Good Christian Men Rejoice.
It was warm in the church and as I listened to the music I noticed a lot of people wandering into church for a few minutes to say a prayer and light a candle, and some parents with their little children, assisting them in lighting candles. After the concert a gentlemen on the stage was holding a lantern and was explaining how in a few minutes the children would be processing all over the city with lanterns. This was a procession I did not want to miss. He explained how it is a proclamation of Christmas and then quoted from the Prologue of John about the light that has come into the world that the darkness cannot extinguish.
I was not sure how all this would work out since my feet were cold and it was damp. Walking about a block I heard the thunderous and joyful sound of children. They were all so happy and filled with glee and giggling, holding their lanterns, forming the procession. There were so many children, hundreds and hundreds of them.
Then the Golden Angel made her appearance to lead the procession through the city. Everyone was taking pictures and videos. The Golden Angel is quite the celebrity. The streets were teeming with people to watch the children process and illuminate the streets of Nuremberg. And to conclude the evening there will be more brass bands on the stage in front of the the cathedral. My pictures can hardly capture the moment that pervades every evening of Advent so there is a link to a professional 3-D tour here that captures the energy of the evening.
This evening had been given over to the energy of the celebration of the Christmas market at Nuremberg. Tomorrow will be a day dedicated to visiting the sights of the city.