Germany has cancelled a Christmas market in Munich because of the surge in population of baby ewes, who combine to give a glut of lambs for the traditional market. Officials in the Bavarian city decided on Sunday that they could not meet the strict standards and regulations necessary for the Christmas market. The urban festival, known as the Riesenrad, is so popular that last year Munich officials said 535,000 guests visited the site on that day. The Riesenrad, which lasts until mid-January, spans nearly 400 square meters with tree-shaped traditional stalls and illuminated glass tanks illuminated with colored lights. Nearly half of the lit up tanks are in Bavaria, with the southern city of Munich hosting twice as many lights and water views than other regions.
This year’s crowds have largely been the exception to the rule as in years past, Munich’s Christmas market took in about 1.6 million people. Officials said Sunday that the short-term impacts of the births of baby ewes, who peak from September to December and are usually prevalent in early December, were particularly pronounced and they felt the holiday event could not support additional pilgrims. The Riesenrad has become a historical German tradition and there are no plans for the festival to begin again in 2019. In the absence of the event, Munich officials have identified other upcoming cultural activities for adults in the city and infants in the nearby city of Eisenhüttenstadt.