By Lucas Tarancon
Berlin, Dec 22 (EFE).- Hot pink decorations, a ceiling plastered in rainbow lights and protest posters challenging homophobia mix with a medley of traditional Christmas food stalls and mulled wine at Berlin’s LGBTQI Christmas market.
Christmas markets are a popular tradition in Germany, but few are as unique as the one on Christmas Avenue, an initiative that arrived in the capital in 2019 from Cologne. This year it marks its second edition after a hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic.
“I think the theme is very appropriate in the area where it is located,” Johanna, who was visiting the market with some friends, told Efe.
The seasonal market opened its doors on November, 22, under the Nollendorfplatz station, the epicenter of the gay scene in Berlin.
“The decoration of the stalls and the products that are sold are a great match to the target audience, although I think everyone is welcome here,” her friend Franka added.
Visitors have to comply with the 2G rules (proof of vaccination or having recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months) that Angela Merkel’s outgoing government mandated on December 2.
Nestled under the S-Bahn railway tracks, which have been lit up with a rainbow flag, the rows of stalls are bursting with baubles and bright decorations. Pink Christmas trees lead to a stage that hosts myriad performances and events until 23 December.
Berlin-based Belgian drag artist Marie Mondieu, the flea market’s hostess, performs every day at 7:00 PM and ushers in the evening’s activities and events with her welcome jingle:
“Merry Christmas, frohe Weinacht, from Christmas Avenue, joyeuse noël and shalom,” she coos to the audience and passers-by.
Musical drag acts, Drag Bingo and events to raise awareness and funds for LGBTQI organizations are just some of the events that are held daily at the market in the lead-up to Christmas.
“It’s different from the rest of the markets in Berlin. The best thing is the live music,” Kim told Efe during a break between performances.
“I think it is very good that there is a market focused on the LGTBQI community and that it is part of a more complete program of activities to claim equality,” her friend Andreas added while sipping on a warm glass of glühwein..
As rising Covid infections have shuttered some of the more traditional events, such as the Charlottenburg Palace market, the Christmas Avenue market has presented itself as a good outdoor option.
Some cities such as Munich or Dresden have even decided to cancel the largest markets this year to avoid large gatherings. EFE