Oktoberfest Munich- History and Facts

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Photo source: Tripsavvy

Oktoberfest, the popular celebration of Bavarian culture, beer, and cuisine, attracts millions of visitors into the city of Munich in Germany. The festival usually runs for 16 to 18 days, beginning in  September and lasting until the first Sunday in October. Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, offers a plethora of exciting experiences to indulge in. You enjoy the beauty of live parade in the streets of Munich. In addition, savoring traditional Bavarian cuisine, well brewed beers, folk music, and fun filled amusement rides are not excluded.

Are you thinking of your next vacation to Europe, and you are not sure of where and when to go? Visiting Germany during this period of Oktoberfest Munich will give you an unforgettable experience filled with joys and funs. During Oktoberfest, you will understand the beauty of hospitality of the Germans.

History of Oktoberfest Munich

Oktoberfest is dated back to October 12, 1810, when Crown Prince Ludwig, later King Ludwig I, married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The citizens of Munich were invited to celebrate the royal wedding festivities, which took place in the fields in front of the city gates. The celebration included horse races, and the event was so well-received. It was decided to repeat the horse races the following year.

In 1811, the second celebration took place, and the decision was made to hold it annually, with the addition of an agricultural show to promote Bavarian agriculture. Over time, the horse races became less significant, and various other forms of entertainment, including beer stands and amusement rides, were introduced.

The festival was later extended and moved to late September to take advantage of better weather. As a result, the Oktoberfest Munich we know today typically starts in late September and ends in the first weekend of October.

While the early Oktoberfest celebrations were focused on horse races and agricultural exhibitions, the emphasis shifted towards beer and entertainment over the years. The beer tents, which are now a central part of the festival, started to gain prominence in the 1890s. Today, Oktoberfest is not only a celebration of Bavarian culture but also one of the largest and most famous beer festivals in the world.

Oktoberfest Munich, celebration of culture and beer: Timeline according to Britannica.

1810 – Original celebration was held.

1811 – State agricultural fair was combined with the event.

1818 – Booths serving food and drink were introduced, including the first appearance of beer.

1819 – Officials in Munich took over the management of the festival.

1850 – Status of Bavaria was unveiled and has watched over the festivals ever since.

1880 – Electricity was first introduced at the festival.

1881 – First roasted chicken booth opened; traditional chickens continue to be served today.

1910 – 100th anniversary was celebrated with a record-setting consumption of beer.

1913 – Largest tent, Bräurosl, was built with 12000 seats.

1950 – The tradition of Munich Mayor tapping the first keg begins with Mayor Thomas Wimmer screaming “Ozapft is!” – “it is tapped!”

1980 – On September 26, a bomb exploded near the main entrance. It killed 12 people and got over 200 injured.

1985 – The 175th anniversary was celebrated by roughly 7.1 million people, making it the most visited in the history of Oktoberfest.

2010 – For the 200th anniversary, officials bring back horse races to the festival, to remind festival goers of the history of Oktoberfest.

2020 – Oktoberfest was cancelled due to coronavirus pandemic.

Note: Oktoberfest has been canceled 25 times due to disease, war, and inflation.


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An overview of how Oktoberfest Munich is celebrated.

Opening Ceremony of Oktoberfest Munich

Image showing the Mayor of Munich tapping the first key during Oktoberfest
Photo source: Oktoberfest

The festival kicks off with a grand parade through the streets of Munich, featuring horse-drawn beer wagons, traditional costumes, and music. The mayor of Munich taps the first keg at the Schottenhamel tent, officially starting the festivities with the exclamation “O’zapft is!” (It’s tapped!).

Beer Tents

Oktoberfest munich is best known for its massive beer tents, each sponsored by a different Munich brewery. These tents can accommodate thousands of people and are known for their lively atmosphere. Traditional Bavarian music is played, and attendees enjoy a variety of beer, including the specially brewed Oktoberfest beer. It’s important to note that only beer brewed within the city limits of Munich and adhering to the Reinheitsgebot (Beer Purity Law) is allowed at the festival.

Music and Entertainment at Oktoberfest Munich

Image showing saxophonist during oktoberfest Munich

Each beer tent features live music, typically provided by traditional Bavarian bands playing folk music. The atmosphere is lively, with attendees singing, dancing, and enjoying the festivities. While traditional Bavarian music is a highlight, the bands also incorporate a mix of genres to cater to a diverse audience. You may hear contemporary hits, pop songs, and other music styles alongside the traditional tunes. Some beer tents organize entertaining contests and games for attendees. These may include beer stein-holding competitions, traditional dance contests, or other interactive activities that add an extra layer of fun to the celebration.

Traditional Attire

Many people attending Oktoberfest wear traditional Bavarian clothing. Men often don lederhosen, which are short leather trousers, while women wear dirndls, which are traditional Bavarian dresses. The outfits contribute to the festive and cultural atmosphere.

Traditional Bavarian Food

picture of Bavarian tarditional food and beer

Oktoberfest in Munich is not only famous for its beer but also for its delicious Bavarian traditional cusine. The festival offers a wide variety of hearty and flavorful dishes that pair well with the beer. Visitors can enjoy traditional dishes such as pretzels, sausages, roast chicken, pork knuckles, and various types of dumplings.

Carnival Attractions

In addition to the beer tents, Oktoberfest features a large fairground with various carnival rides and games. Visitors can enjoy roller coasters, Ferris wheels, and other attractions.

Family-Friendly Events

While Oktoberfest is known for its lively beer tents, there are also family-friendly areas with rides and activities suitable for all ages. The festival aims to cater to a diverse audience.

It’s worth noting that Oktoberfest celebrations have become popular worldwide, with many cities hosting their own versions of the festival, often featuring similar elements such as beer, traditional food, and cultural performances. However, the Munich Oktoberfest remains the largest and most famous celebration of its kind.

 

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