Oktoberfest- World’s largest Beer Festival
Held annually in Munich, Germany. It is a 16-19 day festival running from mid September until the first Sunday in October.
The first Oktoberfest was held in Munich in 1810. Other cities around the world also hold Oktoberfest celebration. The United States has quite a few, as many Americans are descended from German immigrants.
The occasion of the first Oktoberfest was to commemorate the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Saxe Hildburghausen. Bavaria became a kingdom in 1806, when Napoleon abolished the holy Roman Empire.
The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the royal event. The fields were named Theresienwiese- Theresa’s Meadow in honour of the Crown Princess and have kept that name ever since. The first celebration included a horse race which continued until 1960.
The parade is lead by a young girl or Munchner Kindi meaning ‘ Munich child’. This symbol has been the coat-of-arms since 13th century was developed over time from a Monk figure. The figure can be seen all over including manhole covers. Of course on Beer Mugs. Incidentally, Munich in German means ‘place of monks’.
German beer has achieved world wide reputation partly due to the ‘Purity Law’. This law is the oldest food regulation in the world and still in force today. It was ordered by Duke Wihelm IV of Bavaria in the year 1516. No wonder the Germans take the brewing very seriously.
The beer served at the Oktoberfest are called Oktoberfestbiers. It is supplied by 6 Breweries known as ‘Big 6’- Spaten, Lowenbrau, Augustiner, Hofbrau, Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr.
Wine is widely served as Germany produce some of the best wine in the world. Most German wine come from Rhine Valley. 15 different German wines are served at Oktoberfest.
There are 14 main tents sponsored by ‘Big 6’ Breweries. Over 6 million people attend the event each year and thousands overindulge and seen passed out on the grounds. Funnily they are called Bierleichen meaning ‘Beer Corpses’.
Prost- German word for ‘cheers’ or ‘toast’ you will constantly hear at Oktoberfest. Toast translate to ‘To Your Health’. Toasting originated in Greece, and developed from the practice of the host pouring wine and drinking wine before serving his guests to show that he was not trying to poison anyone. Poisoning was rampant and a major concern those days.
The most popular tent is Armbrustschutzenzelt, where the annual ‘cross bow’ shooting is held. It was developed by the Greeks and this weapon was used extensively in ancient warfare.
“ Beer is proof that God loves us and want us to be happy”-Benjamin Franklin.