Sign at the Gnome Christmas Market in Cologne, Germany. This way to the artisan’s workshops. Handwerker – artisan, craftsman. Gasse – lane, a cobbled street.
Felted ornaments at the Köln Christmas Markets. Offered by ní-kí.
A highlight of our trip was the Gnome Christmas Market in Cologne, Germany. Many vendors told us the same story. According to folklore, the Heinzelmännchen (gnome-like creatures) lived unseen in craftsmen’s workshops – tailors, carpenters, shoemakers, weavers. At night, they helped the craftsmen to sew or carve or perhaps knit so that the shop owners would have more to sell to provide for their families. One night, one young girl stayed up past her bedtime because she wanted to see the gnomes at work. After a long wait, she finally spotted one in her father’s workshop. But the gnome saw her too and – poof! – disappeared, never to be seen again. You may notice that each gnome carries a book (look closely at the one on the far left). That book carries their life story, their saga. What’s your saga?