Oktoberfest gets a lot more interesting with some facts and figures. As per latest statistics, about 7.2 million people visited the event and consumed over 6.9 million liters of beer last year!
Let’s learn the history of German beer and the origin of Oktoberfest, the world’s largest beer festival and folk festival.
German Beer History
Brewing of beer continues for over a thousand years now in Germany. Although exact date is unknown, Germans have been making beer since 500 AD. Before the German purity law came into existence, people followed Gruit rights. Gruit or Grut means mix of herbs that help in stabilizing the beer. Some years later, the introduction of German purity law reduced the monopoly for some beer makers. And hops officially became part of the beer making process. In fact, some even told that hops should be only used for beers. Thus the growth of hops increased in all beer producing areas.
German Beer Styles
Wheat beers: Weizenbier (Wheat Beer) and Weißbier (White Beer) are standard German wheat beers.
Pale beers: Helles from Bavaria, Kölsch from Cologne region and Pilsner (most popular in the market).
Dark beers: Altbier from Düsseldorf region, Dunkel from Munich and Franconian regions are most popular.
Unfiltered beers: Kellerbier (Cellar Beer), Zwickelbier and Zoiglbier are examples of unfiltered beers.
On 12th October 1810, Crown Prince Ludwig, married the Princess Teresa of Sassonia-Hildburghausen and celebrated his royal wedding with Munich citizens. And horse races marked the closing of the event. The celebration took place in the fields near the city gate. Since then, this field is popular as Theresienwiese (“Theresa’s meadow”). Locals refer to this place as Wiesn, synonymous to Oktoberfest. The event repeated the following year in 1811. Agricultural shows began along with the horse race, thus led to the beginning of Oktoberfest tradition.
People continued to attend Oktoberfest and had a wonderful time together. The event has evolved with changing times. While agricultural shows can still be found, horse races have discontinued. Amusements are not that large in number, however, beer stands have grown in number. Oktoberfest is now the largest festival in the world with a taste of 21st century. So if someone tells you “Welcome to Wies’n”, it means “Welcome to Oktoberfest”.
If you plan to visit Oktoberfest this year, there are a few things that may help you to be prepared for the event. To begin with, know the dates first hand. This year, the event starts on 16th September and ends on 3rd October. Book some seats for you, your friends and family in beer tents. If you are too late, then you can always approach us, and we can help you with that. The entire Oktoberfest area is equipped with amenities suitable for disabled people.
The weather is most likely warm during the days but can get cold by night. Nighttime temperatures regularly fall below 10 C (50 F) with chilliest nights falling below 4 C (40 F).
If you like to join the event in an ethnic wear like most people do, then you can always buy yourself a cool Lederhosen or a beautiful Dirndl (for ladies) online or directly at various apparel stores in Munich.
Every first Sunday of Oktoberfest, a 7 km long parade takes place. The parade first began in the honor of 25th wedding anniversary of the founders of the event. Close to 10,000 people participate in the parade. People not just from Bavaria but also from other parts of Germany as well as from other European regions join the parade. With vibrant traditional clothes and music representing each of those places, this experience is recommended as must-do on the list.
Do’s and Don’ts at Oktoberfest
Credit cards are in general not accepted everywhere in Germany. And in such popular events, it is always better to carry extra cash to avoid awkward situations.
Please note that there will be some road closures in areas surrounding the event. One has to choose appropriate mode of transport to reach the event and familiarize with entry points at the ground. With familiar entry points, it would also be lot easier to meet people later if you don’t plan to travel together. At each entry point, there will be security check to ensure visitors’ safety. Hence, please make that sure you are not carrying any alcohol, bottles, knives or any sharp and dangerous objects. These objects will be confiscated from visitors and thrown away. Sometimes, even deodorants are taken away at the entry to tents.
If you like some fresh air and not be stuck in beer tents all the time, just walk around the venue and enjoy some amusements such as rides and games that run all day long. For all the beer fans out there, get ready for a couple of maß’s of beer or maybe even more if you will. And those who don’t drink beer, there are still some choices such as wine, various flavors of schorles, ciders, long drinks and so on. Drinks are accompanied with some amazing local food and snacks.
There is something for everyone to experience at Oktoberfest. So get ready, prepare yourself and enjoy the festival of your lifetime!