Northeastern and central Pennsylvanian holiday traditions are a combination of many ethnic customs and celebrations. Several of the special traditions first brought to Pennsylvania are now national staples of Christmas holiday celebrations. Home and Backyard takes a look at some of the ties to Christmas that began right here in northeastern and central Pennsylvania.
The Belsnickel originated in the Palatinate. When the German people immigrated to Pennsylvania, they brought their traditions with them. Belsnickel was known in Pennsylvania in the early 1800s and according to the Pennsylvania Dutch (German ), Belsnickel would visit the houses before Christmas to check on the children to make sure they were behaving. He also carried a switch mush to their dismay.
The Christkindl Market or Christ Market is an outdoor Christmas market in Germany taking place during advent. The Mifflinburg Christkindl Market was founded in 1987 and is the oldest authentic Christkindl market in the United States. When it was founded, the Market initially had 20 huts spread over a one block area of Market Street. Since then, the Market has expanded to over 100 huts across two and a half blocks in the heart of Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania. It has become an important Christmas tradition for families near and far and welcomes thousands of visitors each year.