Herndon Winter Traditions
While the Herndon WinterMarkt borrows from its European roots, at its heart it is a community holiday event. We celebrate the diverse backgrounds and people that make up our community and support all winter holiday traditions that may be celebrated by our neighbors. Below are a few special winter traditions for all to enjoy in Herndon. Please check the Herndon Town Calendar for specific dates, event details, and costs.
Holiday Homes Tour of Herndon
The Holiday Homes Tour is a time-honored tradition that kicks off the holiday season and allows the public the opportunity to visit local homes decorated for the holidays. Homes on the tour are selected for their historic, architectural or community interest. You can purchase tickets in advance of the tour which occurs the first Saturday in December.
Holiday Model Train Show
Avid train enthusiast? Come see multiple model train setups at the Holiday Model Train Show in the Depot and Municipal building, and tour the W&OD Caboose. The lure of model trains holds no barriers for those who build them and those who come to admire them. Admission is free!
Winter Open House & Santa’s Workshop
A free event at the Herndon Fortnightly Library, in the heart of the Town of Herndon, celebrating the holiday season with live music, crafts, visits from Santa and light refreshments!
Holiday Tree Lighting & Sing-Along
Join the mayor and other neighbors at Town Hall Square to light the town tree, sing carols and enjoy a visit from Santa (free admission).
Herndon Holiday Arts & Crafts Show
More than 90 arts and crafts vendors showcasing and selling their hand-crafted gifts at the Herndon Community Center (free admission and parking).
Christkindlmarkt is the German name for the traditional Christmas or winter market, literally translated as “Christ child market.” These markets feature a delightful blend of holiday food, drinks, gifts, and decorations. Various regions of Germany became well-known for their hand-crafted Christmas decorations, wood-working, artwork, and textiles. Today, millions of people enjoy Germany’s Christmas markets each year.
The German Christkindlmarkt (Weihnachtsmarkt)
Granted, the magic of Christmas markets has spread to many other countries and continents, but the origins of Christmas markets can be traced back to the German-speaking part of Europe in the Middle Ages. A few thousand Christmas markets are held all over Germany each year. Christkindlmarkt is the German name for the traditional Christmas or winter market, literally translated as “Christ child market.” These markets feature a delightful blend of holiday food, drinks, gifts, and decorations. Various regions of Germany became well-known for their hand-crafted Christmas decorations, wood-working, artwork, and textiles. Today, millions of people enjoy Germany’s Christmas markets each year.
Saint Nicholas Day (Sankt Nikolaus Tag)
St. Nicholas Day is a favorite holiday with Bavarian and Austrian children. On the night of December 5, children clean and polish their boots and leave them outside before going to sleep. The next morning, they find their shoes filled with nuts, candy, and small gifts from St. Nicholas. He also makes an appearance in shopping malls and children’s clubs. Though Santa Claus has also become popular in Germany, St. Nicholas is much more important than his American counterpart. St. Nicholas Day is also observed in a few other Western Christian countries, though the mode of celebration varies from country to country. At the Herndon WinterMarkt, we have special appearances by both the traditional American Santa Claus and European St. Nicholas.
Stollen is a traditional German Christmas bread and it’s delicious! It is made of flour with fruits (chopped, candied or dried), nuts, and spices added to it. Stollen is sprinkled with powdered sugar and sometimes zest is added to it. Natives of Dresden celebrate a huge festival centering on Christmas stollen. You will find at least one vendor at the Herndon WinterMarkt selling stollen.
Mulled Wine (Glühwein)
Christmas season in Germany is not complete without mugs of steaming hot Glühwein. This quintessential Christmas beverage is sold in small ceramic mugs at Christmas markets throughout Germany and is considered vital in beating the winter chill and spreading festive cheer. The Herndon WinterMarkt has continued this tradition, complete with a collectible mug that is uniquely designed each year so you may take the merriment and memories of WinterMarkt home with you to enjoy all year long.
Lebkuchen is another special German Christmas treat. These baked delights contain honey, a number of spices and nuts, and can be soft or hard, sweet or spicy, and with or without icing. Though it is traditionally a Christmas delicacy, Lebkuchen is often sold at fairs, festivals and souvenir shops across Germany. Many of them have messages written on them in German. You will find at least one vendor at the Herndon WinterMarkt selling traditional Lebkuchen each holiday season.
Krampus, the Christmas devil, is sort of a sidekick of St. Nicholas. He is believed to accompany St. Nicholas to teach naughty children a hard lesson. In Southern Bavaria, men in hideous Krampus costumes patrol the streets on St. Nicholas Night, and are sometimes invited in by parents of particularly naughty children. Occasionally Krampus costumed men appear at Christkindlmarkts in Austria and Germany. While Krampus has not yet made any personal visits to the Herndon WinterMarkt, you may find some art and other crafts related to Krampus available for purchase.
Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce – Herndon Community Traditions
The Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce – Herndon Chapter hosts networking events for businesses through out the year. In addition to hosting the WinterMarkt, they host other family-oriented community events.
Friday Night Live!
Friday Night Live is a free outdoor concert series every Friday Night on the Town Green from May through August.
For more information, check out the Herndon Rocks website.