Culture Travel

September 17, 2021

My Favorite Festival – Oktoberfest

My favorite festival happens at this time of year – Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany.  Tomorrow should be opening day, but sadly, it was cancelled again for a second year in a row.   My first visit was in 2013 and I have been there every opening day since then, even including last year. Though the beer tents at the Theresienwiese were quiet, throughout the city there were still small events to enjoy.

Oktoberfest in Munich is the largest Volksfest in the world.

Known as Wiesn to locals, it attracts more than 6 million people each year who consume approximately 7 million liters of beer during the 16 to 18 day festival (length varies each year).

The origins of this world famous event was the celebration of the wedding between Kronprinz Ludwig (later King Ludwig I) and Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen.  The citizens were invited to attend the festivities in the fields in front of the city gate and over the years it grew into what we know as Oktoberfest to be today. To honor the new crown princess, the fields were named Theresienwiese (Theresa’s Meadow) and today they are now the fairgrounds for the 38 beer tents, food stalls, and carnival that make up Oktoberfest. 

The 187th Oktoberfest will take place from September 17th to October 3rd, 2022. 

A few tips to help you enjoy your time at Oktoberfest

Wear Bavarian Tracht
For men this means lederhosen and for women a dirndl.  Trust me, if you opt not to you will feel very out of place – everyone is wearing this traditional Bavarian garb. 

Learn the Lyrics to Ein Prosit 
Inside the tents every 15 – 20 minutes the band plays this song. You must sing along and drink after each rendition. 

Ein Prosit, ein Prosit (A toast, a toast)
Der Gemütlichkeit (To cheer and good times)
Ein Prosit, ein Prosit (A toast, a toast)
Der Gemütlichkeit (To cheer and good times)

After the band plays this song, everyone raises their glasses and says: “Oans, zwoa, drei, Gsuffa!” meaning “one, two, three, drink!”

Oktoberfest? But, it’s September

The date of the wedding that began this event was on October 12, 1810 with the celebrations continuing for the next five days then repeated year after year. As the popularity grew over the years the start date was moved into September in order to enjoy the warmer evenings. Oktoberfest officially begins on the second to last Saturday in September at noon when the mayor of Munich taps the first barrel at the Schottenhamel Tent, crying “O’zapft is” (It’s open). The festival concludes the first Sunday of October following German reunification day on October 5.

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