Weihnachtsmärchen (Christmas fairy tale) are plays for children, which are an inherent part of the theatre season in the German-speaking parts of Europe.
The theatres show fairy tales, like traditional fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Andersen, modern fairy tales like Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol or adaptations of The Wizard of Oz, Pippi Longstocking or Alice in Wonderland during the Adventszeit (the four weeks before Christmas) to "shorten" the waiting time until Christmas for the children.
At the same time the operas are showing operas or ballets like Hänsel and Gretel or Der Nussknacker for the same reasons.
The theatres do their very best to entertain this special audience by state settings, special written songs or new ideas to introduce young people to the world of theatre.
This tradition is comparable with the tradition of Pantomime in the English-speaking world, but Weihnachtsmärchen doesn't follow the same performance convention like cross-dressing or slapstick.
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