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Oktoberfest: the festival that celebrates everyone's favorite things

Oktoberfest: the festival that celebrates everyone's favorite things

Oktoberfest: the festival that celebrates everyone's favorite things

/ Entertainment / Monday, 04 September 2017 16:07

If you don’t like beer, you might want to try another festival. Though the Official Oktoberfest celebration is native to Bavaria, Munich. There are other – mini – celebrations all over the world that models on this one, but what is it really?  Popular celebrations like this one have a way of finding its way to your face whether you know about it or not. If you have found yourself just nodding along when this topic floats from nowhere into your conversations, then you’re in the right place.

What is Oktoberfest?

Okay, let’s start this one from the root. Long time ago - on October 12, 1810 to be precise - the Crown Prince of Bavaria, Ludwig I, married Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen and as was customary at the time, the people of Munich were invited to join in their celebrations. The festivities lasted over two days on the outskirts of Munich and the public field where they were hosted was named in honor of Bavaria’s new princess, Theresienwiese meaning Therese’s Meadow

The wedding was such a hit for the people of Munich, by the same time the next year they came back to do the whole thing over again – I mean, why stop such a good thing? In its second year, the festival also became an avenue to showcase the region’s agriculture and those public parades and carnival style events that still take place today all started from the earliest Oktoberfests. 

For over 200 years now, the celebrations have continued, only being cancelled during times of war and emergency, such as in 1854 after a particularly nasty citywide bout of cholera.  

‘but why Oktoberfest in September?’  you may ask. 

Well, from lasting barely 3days, the few days of celebration were lengthened into weeks, and the festival’s timing had to be moved forward – or backward, if we think too much about it - to the middle of September when the days were warmer and longer. This is still the case today.

 

When is Oktoberfest? 

Like already mentioned earlier concerning warmer days, Oktoberfest begins in September and ends in October, it lasts for at least 16 days. This year’s event starts from 16th Sept and runs till 3rd October.

Munich has seen significant growth over the last two centuries and, though the Theresienwiese is no longer on the outskirt of the city, Oktoberfest still takes place in the same location. For most part of the year, the grounds are simply a public park. This area has a space of 420,000 sq. ft. and is easy to locate from central Munich. 

More often than not, locals and tourists alike simply refer to it as the Wiesn. So "welcome to the Wies'n" simply means "welcome to the Oktoberfest"!

 

What to expect at the fest?

There should be 14 main tents at the Theresienwiese grounds serving brews by the Maß (1-liter stein - there are no half measures), there are larger tents out of these which rotate up to 12,000 people per day – if you aren’t a beer lover find another place to be. The only beer served comes from Munich breweries such as the; Hofbräu, Späten, Hacker-Poschorr, Augustiner, Paulaner, and Löwenbräu. Several of which are typically carried at one time by buxom barmaids. The cost of a beer this year will be around €10.60 and €10.95. A bit steep admittedly, on the plus side it tastes great and you don’t need too many, because the alcohol content is somewhere around 6% vol.

If you are not a fan of beer, the Weinzelt (wine tent) is where you get to pick from more than 15 different wines and champagne. For something on the chewable side, some café’s offer cakes, pastries and coffee and sometimes cocktail. 

Aside from beer, eating - and passing out, there are actually sight to see and lots of Bavarian music to go around.

Passing note

  • While it is not compulsory to wear the Lederhosen (men) and the dirndi (women), is it much better to dress in the spirit of the celebrations.
  • Only cash is accepted at the Wiesn, but try not to take too much bills as you stand a chance of overspending or losing it all together.
  • The drinking age at the grounds is from 16 years. While it is okay for your kids to tag along, the tents can be crowded later in the day – it won’t be a nice experience for either you nor the child to find each other.
  • And finally, always take stock of your properties. Lots of missing or forgotten stuffs are usually recovered from the ground after the festivities.  – You don’t want to have regrets later right?

 

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