Pandemic calls off Christmas markets in Europe

Pandemic calls off Christmas markets in Europe

This combination image shows a file photo dated Monday, Nov. 25, 2019 of the Roemerberg square in Frankfurt, Germany, with the traditional Christmas market, top, and the Roemerberg square on Friday, Nov. 27, 2020, below. Christmas markets, a cherished tradition in Germany and neighboring countries, have joined the long list of institutions canceled or diminished because of the coronavirus pandemic this year. (Credit: Michael Probst/AP..)

The European plazas where people would usually gather at crowded stalls to partake in hot mulled wine, gingerbread, sausages and other delicacies are just empty squares.

BERLIN — The European plazas where people would usually gather at crowded stalls to partake in hot mulled wine, gingerbread, sausages and other delicacies are just empty squares.

Christmas markets, a cherished tradition in Germany and neighboring countries, have joined the long list of annual traditions that were canceled or diminished this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. November saw many European countries impose partial or tougher lockdowns as new virus cases soared. The restrictions are either being retained or only partially loosened as Advent begins Sunday.

This combination image shows a file photo dated Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016, of the traditional Market in Strasbourg, France, top, and the square on Friday, Nov. 27, 2020, below. (Credit: Jean-Francois Badias/AP.)

This combination image shows a file photo dated Monday, Dec. 17, 2018, of the square with the traditional Christmas Market in Dortmund, Germany, top, and the square on Monday, Nov. 23, 2020 , below. (Credit: Martin Meissner/AP.)

This combination image shows a file photo dated Monday, Nov. 24, 2008, of the Charlottenburg Palace with the traditional Christmas Market in Berlin Germany, top, and the square on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020, below.  (Credit: Michael Sohn/AP.)

Nuremberg’s sprawling, bustling Christkindlesmarkt, one of Germany’s best known holiday markets and traditionally a big tourist draw, was called off a month ago. Markets across the country — including in Frankfurt, Dortmund and many in Berlin — have suffered the same fate, with authorities canceling the events or organizers concluding that it didn’t make sense to push ahead with their plans.

Over the border in France, the roughly 300 stalls of Strasbourg’s popular Christmas market won’t go up this year. And it’s the same story in the Belgian capital, Brussels.

This combination image shows a file photo dated Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019, of the traditional Christmas Market at the Old Town Square in Prague, Czech Republic, top, and the square on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020, below. (Credit: Petr David Josek/AP.)

This combination image shows a file photo dated Monday, Nov. 25, 2013, of the Gendarmenmarkt square with the traditional Christmas Market in Berlin Germany, top, and the square on Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, below. (Credit: Markus Schreiber/AP.)

This combination image shows a file photo dated Friday, Dec. 1, 2017, of the square in front of the Church of Our Lady with the traditional Christmas Market in Nuremberg, Germany, top, and the square on Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, below. (Credit: Matthias Schrader/AP.)

This combination image shows a file photo dated Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019, to the traditional Christmas Market next to Saint Catherine church in Brussels, Belgium, below, and the square on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (Credit: Francisco Seco, top; Olivier Matthys below/AP.)

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