Well, my friends, tomorrow is the day of all days—the day that I’m heading off to Munich for Oktoberfest. So, in honor of the big trip, let’s do a little bit of research on the history of the festive event:
- Oktoberfest is a 16-to-18-day festival held every year in Munich. It runs from late September to the first weekend in October, and it is one of the most famous events in Germany, and the world’s largest fair, with approximately six million people attending every year.
- The festival is held on an area named the Theresienwiese, often called Wiesn for short, which is located near Munich’s centre South East of the main train station.
- At the festival, participants eat Hendi (chicken), Schweinsbraten (roast pork), Haxn (pork knuckle), Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), Wursti (sausage), Brezn (pretzels), Knodel (potato or bread pancakes), Sauerkraut or Blaukraut (red cabbage), among other (a bit odd) things.
- The original Oktoberfest occurred in Munich on October 12, 1810. It was part of a public horse race commemorating the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hidburghausen. It was so successful it was renewed in 1811.
- Since 1950 there has been a traditional festival opening: A twelve gun salute and the tapping of the first keg of Oktoberfest beer at 12 by the incumbent Mayor of Munich with the cry “o’ zapft is!” meaning “It’s tapped!”. The Mayor then gives the first beer to the Minister-President of the State of Bavaria.
- Horse races ended in 196o (that’s a shame!)
- By 1960, the Oktoberfest festival had turned into an enormous world-famous festival. Since then, foreigners (such as myself) began to picture Germans as wearing the Sennerhut, Lederhosen, and the girls in Dirndl (which, by the way, I wore when I was born in Germany).
Bis bald, friends!