What is Oktoberfest?
- Thomas Mehlitz
Oktoberfest is the world’s biggest festival. Born in Munich in the 19th century, it has grown worldwide over the last two hundred years. This article will help explain many elements of the Oktoberfest, both past and present. After reading through, you can stump your friends with your trivia on the Bavarian fest. You’ll also be able to look the part while doing it. So read on, and let’s get ready to celebrate!
Oktoberfest Origin Story:
Despite the popularity of Wies’n worldwide, the origin story of the Oktoberfest is known by few outsides of Munich. The first Oktoberfest took place over two hundred years ago as an 1810 celebration of the marriage between Crown Prince Ludwig 1 and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. Festivities accompanied this union on October 12th on the fields in front of Munich’s gates for all Bavarians. As a result, the fields for these festivities were named Thereseins Wiese in honor of the newly married princess. This name still lives on through the abbreviated Wies’n, commonly heard from locals referring to Oktoberfest and the grounds for celebration.
Due to the popularity of this first celebration, Oktoberfest became an annual event. It continued to grow yearly, with different entertainment and offerings added annually. As the calendar turned to the 1900s, large-scale tents and beer halls were all over the Wies’n grounds. However, growth did not stop there, as the 1900s saw the Oktoberfest become increasingly renowned worldwide, and some new traditions joined. Among these was the 1950 inclusion of Munich’s mayor, kicking off festivities with the now-iconic phrase “O’zapft is!” This phrase means “it is tapped” and is accompanied by the mayor tapping the first keg. Vendors cannot sell beer on fest grounds before the mayor completes this tradition, officially kicking off parties. Learn more in-depth about the history and growth of the Oktoberfest.
The Oktoberfest, despite its name, takes place mainly in September every year. The original festival occurred in mid-October but now occurs between the middle of September and early October. This year, it will last between September 17th and October 3rd. There are many differing explanations for why the Oktoberfest is in September. Many locals claim it has always been that way, but history tells otherwise. The most realistic answer is that city officials pushed Oktoberfest into September to avoid harsh weather. By moving forward, the fest still catches the beginning of October but gets better weather that Munich enjoys in September. Whether you want to celebrate in September or October, there are plenty of choices across the United States for you.
Mistakes to Avoid at the Oktoberfest
Now that you know some history of Oktoberfest, we can move on to some common mistakes to avoid while partying in Oktoberfest tents. By avoiding these, you can fit in and have a more enjoyable time at Wies’n.
Many Oktoberfest visitors make vital mistakes when getting into the world-famous beer tents. Chiefly among these blunders is arriving at the festival late. Rather than trying to get in during the afternoon rush, try showing up before noon. If you fail to get there before the lines outside form, do not try to bribe the guards. This is another major Oktoberfest mistake, and it will leave you embarrassed at the back of the line.
Inside the beer tent - do not drink without eating and do not drink too much, too fast. It will leave you too drunk to continue partying since Oktoberfest has a unique brew that is stronger than regular beer. Finally, remember to show gratitude to your server. They work long days with thousands of revelers in various states. Appreciation can ensure you get the best possible service.
Another mistake that partiers make at Oktoberfest is staying in the tent all day. While beer tents are a cornerstone to the parties, there is much more to discover. Take time to experience the rides, shops, and games that line the grounds. You can also try some of the numerous snacks you can find throughout the Oktoberfest. Find out about key mistakes to avoid in our fun Oktoberfest blunders article.
Great Family Day at the Oktoberfest:
There are plenty of ways to have a great family day at the Oktoberfest. Although it has worldwide fame for the beer tents and drinking, there is much more to Wies’n.
Lining the festival grounds of the Oktoberfest are rides and games. Between the dozens of Oktoberfest games and rides, people of all ages can find something enjoyable to do. There are mystery houses, carnival games, slides, rollercoasters, Ferris wheels, and more. You could spend all day jumping from one attraction to the next and never get bored.
Just off the main festival grounds is the Old Wiesn. Created in 2010 to celebrate the fest’s 200th anniversary, Old Wiesn’s popularity ensured it became a mainstay. Old Wiesn is full of traditional attractions to show festival-goers a glimpse of Oktoberfest from the past. Especially for younger children, the more tame and classic rides are great fun. With a small cover charge and attractions costing 1 Euro each, it is excellent and affordable family fun. It now runs three out of four years, with the fourth year replaced by the Bavarian Country Festival. So be sure to check if it is going to know which party to expect.
Another great experience for visitors of any age is to taste Oktoberfest foods. Numerous street vendors throughout the fest serve German food. Among the foods to try are giant bratwurst, pretzels, and roasted chicken, named Hendl. Read on some of the family-friendly offerings on the Oktoberfest.
Must try foods at the Oktoberfest
There are some fantastic must-try foods while at the Oktoberfest. So whether you want fast festival food or a sit-down meal, there will surely be something to meet your needs. Read up on a broader list of the main foods on offer at the Oktoberfest.
If you are looking for something quick to eat, Leberkaese and Currywurst are excellent choices. Leberkaese is a combination of meat made into a loaf. It’s eaten many ways, but it’s typically on a roll with a bit of mustard at a festival. This makes it a great treat to carry around the grounds while you revel. Currywurst is a sausage covered in a curry sauce that usually comes with a side of fries. Although not from the Munich area, it is a definite crowd pleaser and can serve as great comfort food to couple with some alcohol.
There are some other great if you are in the mood for a larger meal to pair with beer. Chief among these is Hendl. This dish is simplistic, consisting of a roasted half chicken. Although not fancy, this unique dish is a staple throughout Oktoberfest tents. Every year at Wies’n, hundreds of thousands of Hendl are sold. You will enjoy it, and it will do wonders to keep you full as you continue to party.
The importance of Lederhosen
Despite being chief among Oktoberfest traditions, one thing that has gone unmentioned until now is Lederhosen. You cannot overstate the importance of Lederhosen at the Oktoberfest. Lederhosen started as work clothes due to their resilience in the field. Over the years, though, they morphed into celebratory clothing that signifies festivals across Bavaria. Especially at the Oktoberfest, a nice pair of Lederhosen can help you fit in and look your best while celebrating.
Finding a nice, traditional pair of Lederhosen for a fair price can be a considerable challenge. Many people fall for the hundreds of pairs that are not made of genuine leather or come in the wrong colors. A proper pair of Lederhosen should be made of leather and come in a natural shade of brown. Furthermore, the price can be a big concern. Some people spend hundreds to thousands of dollars for a single pair of Lederhosen. Instead of getting fake or overpriced Lederhosen, choose Bavarian Trachten, where you can find great affordable Lederhosen. You’ll look the part and feel great while leaving money for your Oktoberfest festivities.