Oktoberfest is the BIGGEST folk festival in the world. It is attended by millions of people from around the world who flock to Munich, Bavaria, Germany to eat traditional foods, listen to traditional music, wear traditional Bavarian garb (lederhosen for men and dirndl for women and tirolerhute unisex hats) and of course drink the famous Oktoberfest/Marzen beer.
It is celebrated from mid-September to the beginning of October. The festival begins with the opening ceremony which has been the same since 1950. The mayor of Munich taps the first keg and gives the first glass to a person being honoured usually the Prime Minister or another minister in attendance.
Recently, the German Government announced that the celebrations of Oktoberfest have been cancelled due to COVID-19. This is the second consecutive year the celebrations are being cancelled in Germany.
The first Oktoberfest was held in the year 1810 in honour of the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig’s marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The festivities began on October 12, 1810, and ended on October 17th with a horse race. In the following years, the celebrations were repeated and, later, the festival was prolonged and moved forward into September.
By moving the festivities up, it allowed for better weather conditions. Because the September nights were warmer, the visitors were able to enjoy the gardens outside the tents and the stroll over “die Wiesen” or the fields much longer without feeling chilly. Historically, the last Oktoberfest weekend was in October and this tradition continues into present times.
ktoberfest beer or Marzen is a brewed in March especially for Oktoberfest. It has a gravity 2% higher than regular beers and has been served at the festival since 1818. The main suppliers of Okbtoberfest bier are the Club of Munich Brewers.