Unlimited supply of beer, foot tapping music, and mouth-watering delicacies – the Oktoberfest has all that and more to offer you. If you wish to be a part of the most famous beer festival in the world, then get ready to pack and leave for Munich, Germany. The Oktoberfest is a 16 day extravaganza organized every year in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. It usually begins towards the last week of September and concludes in the first week of October.
In 2012 the grant party begins on September 22 and would conclude on Sunday 7, October.
The Oktoberfest is perhaps the largest and the most visited tourist attraction in Germany. Annually, more than 5 to 6 million people from all over the world congregate in Germany to drink beer and have the time of their lives. The Oktoberfest is an integral part of the Bavarian culture. But when did it start? Let’s trace the history of this unique festival which has inspired many clones in different parts of the world.
It all began with a wedding. The crown prince Ludwig of Bavaria tied the knots of matrimony with Princess Therese of Saxony on October 12, 1810. The whole of Munich was extended an invitation to celebrate the royal event. The celebrations were held in the huge open field that over looked the city gates. The field later on was given the name of the princess, Theresienwiese or Theresa’s meadow or fields.
To conclusion of the event was a magnificent horse race with the royal family as the witnesses. The occasion was so grant a success that it was decided to hold the horse race every year, thereby giving birth to the tradition of the Oktoberfest. The festival was also accompanied by an agricultural show in the next year. With the passage of time, the horse race was left out, but all the other local flavors were retained.
Later on, it was decided to begin the festivities in September to take advantage of the more favorable weather conditions.
Ah, the Beer
If you are a beer lover, then don’t you dare miss the Oktoberfest. Any idea about the quantity of beer that gets consumed during these 16 days? Well, somewhere around 5 million liters by the final day! And mind you, not any brand of beer can be sold for the Oktoberfest. The beer has to conform to the Reinheitsgebot or the purity order which insists that it should contain a minimum of 6% alcohol.
It is also mandatory that the beverage should be brewed within the Munich city limits. If all these criteria are satisfied, then the beer is given the tag of Oktoberfest beer and is permitted to be sold at the festival.
Let the Celebration Begin!
Huge tents are constructed in the Theresienwiese often shortened to Weisn, near the city center of Munich in preparation for this largest celebration of beer drinking. But remember, the festival is not just consuming gallons of beer. It also involves a host of other activities, the most important being the food festival. Yum, the delicacies that are sold here! You get anything from traditional Bavarian cuisine to cheese noodles. The aroma itself would tempt even a saint.
Had your fill of delicious food? Then, it’s time to groove. The music is a whole day event for the Oktoberfest. But the fun and enjoyment reaches its peek past noon when traditional folk music is accompanied by dancing. People link their arms with each other and dance to the music swinging the beer mugs from side to side. Anyone can join in the fun. The dances include marches, polkas and so on. The other festivities consist of official parades and open air concerts.
Of course, hotels are aplenty. But for those who wish to save their money or would love to enjoy the great outdoors, youth hostels and tents are available for cheaper rates. When you avail this mode of stay, you also get to meet people from different nationalities and get to enjoy the truly international fervor of this festival.
Oktoberfest is not just about guzzling unlimited quantities of beer. It’s about celebrating the tradition of a country which has been preserved past two centuries and being a part of one of the largest parties of the world.