As German students, we always thought of visiting Germany for the Oktoberfest. We are sure this thought must have crossed your mind too. Here, you’ll find 20 interesting facts to know about Oktoberfest, the largest folk festival.
We got a chance to experience this festival last year. Here are a few pictures for you!
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20 Facts to know about Oktoberfest:
- In 2019, Munich will be celebrating the Oktoberfest for the 186th time.
- Oktoberfest first originated in October 1810.
- Crown Prince Ludwig from Bavaria, later titled King Ludwig I married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on 12th October 1810. For their marriage, festivities and a huge horse race were planned on the grounds of Theresienwiese. The ground was named after the bride. The festivities took place on 17th October 1810, marking the birth and beginning of Oktoberfest.
- In the beginning, Oktoberfest was not actually a beer festival.
- In 1813, Oktoberfest was cancelled for the first time due to Napoleonic wars.
- In 1881, the first roasted chicken outlet opened and the traditional chicken is served even today.
- In the late 19th century , Oktoberfest developed to what we know today, with small beer booths replaced by huge beer tents and musicians.
- In 1950, Mayor of Munich Thomas Wimmer tapped the first keg in the Schottenhamel tent for the first time. Ever since, the Mayor taps the first keg every year which starts off the festival.
- Before the Mayor taps the first keg on the first day of Oktoberfest, nobody in the tents is allowed to drink the beer.
- Oktoberfest has around six million visitors annually from all over the world.
- One of the most popular songs which one is to hear at Oktoberfest is “Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit“. A close translation of this phrase in English is “A toast to cheer and good times”.
- Prost translates to “Cheers”.
- To order your beer, it would be good to have a knowledge of numbers. Eins, zwei, drei und vier translates to one, two, three and four. To learn more German words which would be helpful for your travel experience in Germany, check out our vocabulary topic for the theme Vacation.
- The locals call the festival Wiesn.
- People usually dress up in Dirndl and Lederhosen for the festival. If you are not aware, the Dirndl is a traditional dress worn by the women and the Lederhose is the traditional leather attire of the men. If you plan to dress up in a Dirndl just like the locals, the main thing you should be aware of is that the bow of your dress says a lot about your relationship status. If the bow is on the right, the woman is in a relationship or spoken for. If the bow is on the left, the woman is single. Young wearers wear the bow in the middle. The bow to the left indicates that the woman is either a widow or a server or a child. As a tourist, there are good chances that the women don’t know this tradition and wear the Dirndl however they like.
- The Willenborg’s Ferris wheel is the symbol of Oktoberfest. The Ferris wheel has 40 gondolas. At a height of 50 meters one can enjoy a 360-degree view. The view extends over the entire Theresienwiese.
- Apart from the symbolic Ferris wheel, one can enjoy many other rides at the festival.
- Roast Chicken, Würstl or the sausages, Brezen or the pretzels, Sauerkraut or pickled cabbage and Curry wurst are the common food items on the menu in the Oktoberfest tents.
- In 2010, to mark the 200th anniversary celebrations of the Oktoberfest, the Oide Wiesn was born. It was supposed to be a one time thing but the folks appreciated it so much that it is continued even today. In this section there are three festival tents: ‘Tradition’, ‘Herzkasperl’ and a tent for folk singers named ‘Zur Schönheitskönigin’. Another highlight is the puppet theater. Oide Wiesn is more about traditional customs and costumes.
- Oktoberfest has big as well as small beer tents where people enjoy their beer and food along with good music.
These are some of the fun facts to know about Oktoberfest. You can comment below if you would like to add more facts.
If you want to know about popular beers in Germany, check out our article 10 Popular Beers in Germany.