Oktoberfest: The World’s Largest Folk Festival

Munich’s Oktoberfest is one of the world’s most popular festivals, and for good reason! Held annually in Munich, Germany, the 16-18 day festival features traditional music, food, and of course, beer. With more than 6 million people attending every year, it’s a must-see event for anyone interested in culture and tradition.

Oktoberfest

History of Oktoberfest

The first Oktoberfest was held on 18 October 1810 to celebrate the marriage of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen which happened 6 days before. The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities, which included horse races, dancing, and beer drinking. The event was so successful that it was decided to repeat it the following year.

In 1811, the Oktoberfest was extended to include a show in order to advertise Bavarian agriculture. Due to Bavaria’s involvement in the Napoleonic Wars, the Oktoberfest was canceled in 1813, after which it expanded year by year. In 1818, carnival booths first appeared; the most valuable rewards were silver, porcelain, and jewelry. In 1819, the city fathers took charge of the celebration, and it was decided that Oktoberfest become an annual event.

Since 1850, the statue of Bavaria has watched over the Oktoberfest. The statue, created by Ludwig Michael von Schwanthaler, is a 16-foot (5 meters) tall bronze figure of a woman in the traditional Bavarian dress. She holds a wreath and an edelweiss in her right hand, and a scepter in her left.

The Oktoberfest celebration was canceled in 1854 due to the cholera epidemic, but it restarted the following year. By 1860, the festival had become so large that it needed to be moved from the city center to an area outside the city gates. In 1880, electric lights were installed and the first glass mug of beer was served in 1892.

The festival continued to be held annually, except for during World War II, when it was canceled from 1940-1946 due to the destruction caused by Allied bombing.

Oktoberfest Today

Nowadays, the Oktoberfest is still held annually in Munich and continues to be a hugely popular event, attracting visitors from all over the world. The tapping ceremony in the Schottenhamel festival hall marks the beginning of Oktoberfest each year. The mayor taps the first beer barrel and declares “O’zapft is!” (“It’s tapped”) at noon on the first Saturday of Oktoberfest, as tradition dictates.

O'zapft is!
oktoberfest.net

Over the course of the festival, millions of liters of beer are consumed, along with large quantities of food.


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Some Traditional Oktoberfest foods

Hendl – roasted chicken

Hendl

One of the most popular foods at Oktoberfest is Hendl – roasted chicken. Hendl is usually seasoned with salt, pepper, and paprika, and is served with a side of bread or potato salad. It is a popular dish in Bavaria and can be found at many festivals and outdoor events.

Weißwurst – white sausage

Weißwurst

Weißwurst is a type of Bavarian sausage made from veal and pork. It is flavored with ginger, cardamom, lemon, and parsley, and is usually served with sweet mustard and a pretzel.

Schweinshaxe – roasted ham hock

Schweinshaxe

Schweinshaxe is a dish made of roasted ham hock. It is a popular dish in many parts of Germany and is often served with sauerkraut or potatoes. Schweinshaxe is also popular in other countries, such as Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia.

Obatzda – Bavarian Cheese Spread

Obatzda

Obatzda is a Bavarian cheese spread made from Camembert, cream cheese, butter, onions, and spices. It is often served with pretzels or bread.

Oktoberfest Charcuterie Board

Oktoberfest Charcuterie Board
hurriedhostess.com

A charcuterie board is a perfect way to enjoy a variety of Oktoberfest meats and cheeses. It typically includes ham, sausage, cheese, and bread.

Bratwurst In Beer

Bratwurst In Beer

Bratwurst is a type of German sausage made from pork, beef, or veal. It is usually grilled or fried and served with a side of sauerkraut or potatoes.

Sauerbraten – Bavarian Pot Roast

Sauerbraten

Sauerbraten is a Bavarian pot roast made with beef, pork, or venison. It is marinated in vinegar and spices, then slow-cooked until tender. Sauerbraten is usually served with potatoes.

Brezen (pretzels)

Brezen

Pretzels are a type of bread that originated in Germany. They are made from flour, water, yeast, and salt, and are boiled in water before being baked. Pretzels are often served with beer or as a snack.

These are just some of the traditional Oktoberfest foods that you can enjoy. There are many other delicious dishes to try, so be sure to sample as much as you can!

What to drink at Oktoberfest?

Oktoberfest

Of course, no Oktoberfest celebration would be complete without beer. The types of beer served at Oktoberfest are specially brewed for the occasion and must conform to Bavarian purity laws. Only six breweries are allowed to produce Oktoberfest beer: Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu, Löwenbräu, Paulaner, and Spaten.

If you’re not a fan of beer, don’t worry – there are plenty of other drinks to enjoy at Oktoberfest. Wine, cider, and non-alcoholic beverages are also available.

The best Oktoberfest celebrations outside of Germany

If you can’t make it to Munich for Oktoberfest, don’t despair – there are many other great places to celebrate Oktoberfest around the world. Here are just a few of the best:

Blumenau, Brazil

Blumenau's Oktoberfest
belladasemana.com.br

Blumenau’s Oktoberfest is the largest outside German and attracts over two million visitors each year. The festival features a parade, live music, and traditional German food and drink.

Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Cincinnati's Oktoberfest
radseason.com

Cincinnati’s Oktoberfest is one of the largest in the United States, attracting over 500,000 visitors each year. The festival features live music, traditional German food, and of course, beer.

Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Kitchener-Waterloo's Oktoberfest
oktoberfest.ca

Kitchener-Waterloo’s Oktoberfest is the largest in Canada and the second-largest in North America. The festival attracts over 700,000 visitors each year and features a wide variety of German food, music, and culture.

If you’re planning on attending Oktoberfest, be sure to try some of these traditional foods and drinks! And don’t forget to wear your lederhosen or dirndl!

Have you ever been to Oktoberfest? What was your favorite part? Let us know in the comments below!

Cheers!

Prost!

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