What is Oktoberfest?
The Oktoberfest is an annual festival of about sixteen to eighteen days’ period in the city of Munich, Germany. The fest has also considered being a Volksfest, a beer fest, and a traveling funfair. The fest generally takes place from mid or late September to the first Sunday in October. During this festival, large amounts of the Oktoberfest Beer have consumed. The visitors can also enjoy games, side stalls, and even amusement rides. Only beer conforming to the Reinheitsgebot (a series of regulations limiting the ingredients in the beer in Germany and the states of the former holy roman empire) that has brewed within the city limits of Munich can be served.
How did OKTOBERFEST start?
The tradition first started in 1810 to celebrate the October wedding of Bavarian crown prince Ludwig to Princess Therese. The citizens of Munich were invited to the five days long festivities, where the main event was a horse race. These anniversary celebrations have held annually thereafter with elements like agricultural shows, carousels, swings, mush eating contests, barrel rolling races have getting added over the years. By the 1870s mechanical rides had become a feature of the festival. And by the early 1900s, the festival boasted Germany’s first roller coaster. When the beer has finally allowed on to the fairgrounds where the festival has held, beer stands began cropping up which then had evolved into beer halls and finally into the beer tents as seen today.
Significant Events in the fest
The entry of restaurateurs and breweries
A parade that marks the entry of the restaurateurs and breweries takes place. This tradition in its current form started in 1935 where all the breweries first took part. The parade has led by the Münchner Kindl (refers to the symbol that refers to the coat of arms, in this scenario, the mascot for the fest) who has followed by the mayor of Munich in the Schottenhammel family carriage. They are then followed by other decorated horse carriages and carriages of the other restaurateurs and showmen.
Beer Barrel Tapping
Post the parade of the restaurateurs, at exactly 12 o clock, the lord mayor opens the first barrel in the Schottenhammel tent. Twelve gunshots are then fired which serve as the signal for other restaurateurs to start serving their beer. This tapping of the beer becomes a contest in itself, with people often placing bets, to see how many strokes the mayor requires until the first beer flows. The best performance so far has been that of two strokes.
Costume and riflemen parade
This parade, which has been an annual affair since the 1950s, is one of the main highlights of the fest along with being one of the largest parades of the world. Eight thousand participants march in this parade which occurs on the first Sunday of the festival. This parade, much like the earlier one, is led by the Münchner Kindl followed by other notable members of the city council and administration of the state of Bavaria. There are also musical bands, traditional costumes, and rifle clubs, marching bands, flag-wavers, and about 40 decorated horse carriages and carts.
Also read, La Tomatina