World’s Biggest Beer Festival
Enjoy, drink, discover and celebrate during the world’s biggest beer festival: Oktoberfest.
EVERYTHING ABOUT OKTOBERFEST IN MUNICH
THE CITY OF MUNICH
The German city of Munich, the Bavarian capital, hosts the world’s biggest beer festival since 1810. It’s known as Oktoberfest. This beautiful city located north of the Bavarian Alps is a place where tradition and modernity come together. To begin with, it possesses great architectural beauty, impressive history, unique traditional clothing and a hearty gastronomy that will immediately seduce you. As you walk its streets, shaded by Bavarian-style houses with their charming structure and colors, it will seem that, for one moment, you’ve been taken to a fairytale land. But Munich is also a prosperous financial center with a growing economy, an innovating society and it´s the third most populated German city.
For these reasons, DINKtravelers assures you that visiting Munich will not be disappointing in any case. Also, if you love beer, plan your trip during the last week of September and the first of October in order to have double fun. This way, you’ll get the chance to participate in the world’s most popular beer festival.
ORIGIN OF OKTOBERFEST
The origin of this famous festival dates back to the 19th century. It began as a wedding celebration when Louis I of Bavaria married Theresa of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The great event took place on the fields that were thereon known as Theresienwiese, which means, Theresa’s Field, in honor of the princes. This celebration continues to exist nowadays. Only on certain occasions, due to wars or other tragic events, the popular festival has been cancelled. Over six million people gather every year at Thereisenwiese in order to participate in this celebration that usually lasts from 16 to 18 days.
THE CELEBRATION OF OKTOBERFEST
Despite its name, this festival usually takes place in late September; concretely, from the first weekend after September 15th to the first days of October.
The inauguration ritual is always marked by the arrival of the Wiesnwirte, who represent the ancient owners of beer breweries and who parade from the city center to Theresienwiese on carriages that are loaded with beer barrels. This parade is accompanied by music bands and it’s led by the city major as well as a character known as the Müncher Kindl, whom you can find on Munich’s coat of arms. This character is originally represented as a monk holding a book in his hand because the name of the city comes from the word Munichen, which in old German means “place of monks”. Nowadays it’s commonly represented as a child-monk.
Once the major opens the first barrel of beer at exactly noon, the festival is inaugurated and the Wiesnwirte can start selling beer in the huge tents. Some of these tents, like the Schottenhammel or the Hacker-Pscorr are enormous and legendary. They can house 10,000 people each, but there are many others you can discover throughout these feisty days. Still, selling beer in this festival is not easy because the brews that are sold during Oktoberfest must meet a series of very specific requirements. Therefore, only six traditional brands from Munich (Augustiner, Paulaner, Hofbräu…) can be found there.
Apart from the tents, you can visit mythic breweries in the city such as the Hofbräuhaus, king Louis I’s favorite brewery, whose imposing halls will impress you.
TIPS TO ENJOY OKTOBERFEST
- Women who wear the typical Bavarian dress (tracht) must remember that the side on which they tie the bow has different meanings regarding their marital status: right – engaged; front center – virgin; left – single; back – widow or waitress.
- For safety’s sake, big backpacks or bags are not allowed, so travel light.
- Tip your waitress after your first drink in order to get the best service during your stay.
- Remember that bottoms up are forbidden, so take your time to enjoy your beer.
- If you don’t like beer, visit the Weinselt, a tent where they sell very good wine.
OTHER ACTIVITIES IN MUNICH
Oktoberfest gives you the chance to participate in other interesting activities such as parades, going to an amusement park, going to concerts, exhibits and even visiting museums. Don’t forget that Munich is full of charms and monuments you can enjoy apart from the celebration. In that sense, you can go to Marienplatz, the city’s main square; visit Frauenkirche, Munich’s cathedral; or visit the Residence of old Bavarian monarchs.
Of course, another requisite of this festive celebration is to pair your beer with one of the succulent Bavarian traditional dishes. Here are some of the most famous dishes you’ll get to enjoy:
- Semmelknödel – cooked bread balls
- Obatzda – typical Bavarian cheese served with onion and pepper
- Kartoffelsalat – the famous German potato salad
- German sausages like Weisswurst and Brühwurst
- Bretzel – more commonly known as Pretzel; a bread or cookie shaped like a twisted knot.
The list is long, so try them all and order a cold beer at Oktoberfest.