The 183rd Oktoberfest kicks off this week in Munich, Germany. Traditionally, it starts every year in September and ends the first Sunday of October. It’s the largest festival in the world, with an international flavor characteristic of the 20th century.
The festival historically associated with drinking beer and eating potato salad began with a Royal Wedding. Crown Prince Ludwig, later to become King Ludwig 1, was married to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on October 12, 1810. All of the Munich citizens were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the happy event. The fields were named Theresienwiese or “Therese’s Fields” to honor the newly crowned Princess. The name has since been abbreviated to “Wiesn”.
The event consisted of horse races and agricultural shows and evolved as the tradition continued for years afterward. What were once small beer stands became larger tents and halls, catered by Germany’s most renowned breweries.
An essential aspect of Oktoberfest is attending the event wearing tradition clothes, as in dirndl dresses and leather pants. The outfit is key to enjoying Oktoberfest in traditional fashion. A dirndl dress is the costume of a traditional German beer waiter. It fits tightly around the waist and upper body with a fanning, floor length skirt. They’re typically brightly colored featuring a white blouse and versatile apron.
It’s not all about the beer at Oktoberfest. Celebrate the very best of Germany with pretzels, bratwursts, sauerkraut, fried apple pie, and did we say bratwurst?
The Bratwurst is a type of German sausage made from veal, pork or beef. The name is derived from the Old High German Brätwurst, from brat, meaning “meat without waste.” There are currently 40 different varieties of Bratwurst throughout Germany, varying on the region. The style of preparation varies as well, sometimes served over a bed of sauerkraut and other times on a Kaiser roll.
You are in no way encouraged to drink alcohol, but if you’d like to the option is readily available. There are 15 big tents in Oktoberfest overflowing with bubbly brew in mugs and goblets alike. Each tent has something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a traditional sit-down dinner or a raucous party. Visit the Marstall tent for a classy ambiance and roll over to the Hacker-Festhalle tent to look up at the clouds and stars, experiencing “Bavarian Heaven”.
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