It is estimated that the trade of the week of the fair amounts to $4,000,000 or $5,000,000. Equally large are the transactions made at the fair of Guibray, a small suburb of the town of Falaise, held from Aug. 10 to 15. It was instituted in the 11th century by the dukes of Normandy, and is the principal market for wool and woollen goods, and for valuable horses.-The annual fairs in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and other cities in Holland, are scenes of great popular rejoicings. For several days and nights the streets are paraded by joyous crowds, and the usual sobriety of the Dutch yields to boisterous demonstrations. Theatres and shows of all kinds form the staple amusements, and among the refreshments are wafer cakes, a sort of thin cake baked in an iron mould, of which the consumption is enormous.-The principal fair of Italy is that of St. Mary Magdalen in Siniga-glia, which is annually held in July and August, and attended by traders from all parts of central and northern Europe, north Africa, and the Levant. Among the various products of Italian industry which change hands here, silk is the most important.
Fairs of less consequence are held in other parts of Italy, as well as in Spain and Portugal. The most famous fair of Madrid is annually held on May 15, at the hermitage of San Isidro del Campo, when the grand pilgrimage and festival of San Isidro draws thither crowds of the population. The great Hungarian fairs are held chiefly at Pesth. Four times a year, in March, May, August, and November, the industrial products of Hungary are brought here for sale. Scarcely less important for the commerce of eastern Europe, and more interesting for the traveller and observer of national customs, are the fairs of De-breczin.-The fairs of the greatest European importance, however, are those of Germany. They originated there, as in many other countries, through religious festivals. Hence fairs were called Kirchmessen, church fairs, the German word Messe (fair) being derived from mass. The most prominent fairs are those of Leipsic, Frankfort-on-the-Main, Frankfort-onthe-Oder, and Brunswick. The Leipsic fairs date from the 12th century, and are the most frequented.
Of the aggregate value of goods sold at German fairs Leipsic has 40 per cent., Frankfort-on-the-Oder 36, Frankfort-on-the-Main 15, and Brunswick 5. Leipsic holds three fairs: the Easter fair, beginning on the second Sunday after Easter, the Michaelmas fair, beginning with the week of Michaelmas; and the New Year's fair, beginning on Dec. 27. The Easter fair is the most important, and the New Year's fair the least. The imports of goods in 1870 for New Year's amounted to 187,930 cwt.; for Easter to 313,300 cwt.; for Michaelmas to 296,870 cwt.; total, 798,100 cwt. The principal articles of trade carried to the fairs are furs, yarn, silk, cloth, cotton goods, ribbons, hardware, toys, china, glass, and earthenware, drugs, grain, hides, leather, dye stuffs, colors, oils, alcohol, coal, and paper. Easter is the customary season among booksellers for set-tling their accounts, and for the principal trade sale, but the exhibition of books formerly con-nected with this fair has gone into disuse.-The most celebrated fairs of Russia are held in Nizhni-Novgorod. The January fair is specially for timber and articles in wood, and takes place on the frozen river; the July fair is de-voted to the sale of horses; but the Peter Paul fair, beginning Aug. 5 and lasting until the end of September, embraces every known pro-duct of Asia and Europe, and exceeds in magnitude all other fairs in the world.
The tra-ders present during this season often number 200,000, and comprise representatives of every race and nation. The principal articles of trade are tea, grain, cotton, wool, horse and camel hair, hides, iron, copper, jewels, and furs; but every kind of manufacturing and agricultural produce is brought to this market. The sales amount to nearly $100,000,000. The Russian government erected a bazaar for storing furs, shawls, and tea, and drew from each fair a rent of $200,000. This enormous building was destroyed by tire in 1864. The fair of Kiakhta on the Russian-Chinese frontier, held every December since 1727, and formerly of great magnitude, as it was the only legal tra-ding post between the two countries, has dwindled to comparative insignificance since the opening for traffic in 1860 of the whole frontier, and the decree of 1861 permitting the importation of tea from the countries W. of Russia, and the ports on the Baltic sea.-The chief fairs of Turkey are those of Yenidje Var-dar and Serres, the former commencing on Dec. 3 and continuing for about three weeks, and the latter on March 21, for three or four weeks; of Okhrida (May 3), Varna (May 23), Filibe (Aug. 27), and Eski Saghra (Nov. 10), each of which lasts a fortnight; and those of Yatar Bazari (Sept. 15) and Tchaltadeh (Nov. 6), which last 10 days.
Conspicuous among the various traders assembled there are the Greeks and Armenians. But the greatest , fair in the East is held at Mecca during the time of the annual pilgrimages. Although it has declined from its ancient magnitude, the average concourse still amounts to 100,000.-The largest fair in India is held at the vernal equinox at Hurdwar, on the upper Ganges. It is the season of the yearly pilgrimage, and from 200,000 to 300,000 strangers are then assembled in the town; every 12th year, which is accounted peculiarly holy, nearly 2,000,000 pilgrims and dealers visit the place. This fair is supplied with every article of home produce, and not only elephants but tigers and other wild beasts are offered for sale. Previous to the British occupation, the fairs usually ended in bloodshed; but owing to the precautions adopted, perfect order is now preserved.-According to PrescottsHistory of the Conquest of Mexico," fairs were held in the principal cities of ancient Mexico every fifth day (there having been no shops), and were thronged.
"A particular quarter was allotted to each kind of article. The transactions were conducted under the inspection of magistrates appointed for the purpose. The traffic was carried on partly by barter, and partly by means of a regulated currency of different values. This consisted of transparent quills of gold dust; of bits of tin, cut in the form of a J; and of bags of cacao, containing a specific number of grains." Fairs were regularly held at Azcapozalco, not far from the capital, for the sale of slaves. The gatherings in the market of Tlascala were a sort of fairs, where pottery which was considered equal to the best in Europe formed one of the principal articles of trade, and every description of domestic produce and manufacture was brought there for sale. But the greatest fair was held in the city of Mexico. The visitors there were estimated at from 40,000 to 50,000, but the most perfect order reigned throughout. A court of 12 judges sat in one part of the tianguez, clothed with absolute power, which they exercised with great rigor. In Prescott's History of the Conquest of Peru it is said that the incas instituted fairs for the facilitation of agricultural exchanges.
They took place three times a month in some of the most populous places, where, as money was unknown, a rude kind of commerce was carried on by barter.-The only fairs in the United States, properly so called, are assemblages for the sale and purchase of goods, generally contributed gratuitously, for the benefit of some particular object, as the building or furnishing of a church, or the promotion of some charitable enterprise. During the civil war very large sums were raised by the so-called sanitary fairs, for the benefit of the sick and wounded.-The word fair is also applied to exhibitions of articles not specially intended for sale, and sometimes strictly prohibited from sale at the place of exhibition. The state and county fairs in the United States are for competitive exhibition rather than general traffic. (See Industrial Exhibitions.)