||Arrival of the tent patrons with parade through Munich.
||Tapping of the first Octoberfest-beer-barrel by the Munich mayor in the Schottenhamel Tent.|
||Traditional costume parade through Munich.
||until 7 p.m.
||1. Family day: all rides and performances cost less.
||Traditional religious Oktoberfest mass.
||Traditional concert of the Oktoberfest brass-bands at the feet of the Bavaria.
||until 7 p.m.
||2. Family day: all rides and performances cost less.
||Traditional gun-salute on the steps of the Bavaria monument.|
Germans love their beer and this becomes evident on Oktoberfest, the world's largest beer festival, when millions of people go on a drinking binge. The festival is held for two weeks – from late September to early October – and there are no limits to how much one can drink. The Germans have been celebrating Oktoberfest since 1810, when the first festival was held in Munich. Since then, the festival has grown by leaps and bounds and today its fame has transcended beyond the borders of Germany. It is no longer a festival celebrated by Germans alone, as thousands of tourists from other nations around the world fly down to Germany to indulge in the festivities. It has been estimated that in the year 2013, 7.7 million liters of beer was served to revelers. Though beer is the center of attraction at the Oktoberfest, other things such as amusement rides, games and scrumptious food are also highlights of the festival.
Today, beer lovers need to thank the Crown Prince Ludwig, who later became King Ludwig I of Bavaria and reigned from 1825 to 1848, for kick starting the festival. On October 12, 1810, Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen were married. It was a magnanimous event and apart from the high-society, the ordinary people of Munich were also invited to be a part of the celebrations.
The celebrations were organized in the open fields that were located in front of the city gates and the whole of Bavaria indulged in the festivities. The festival witnessed a spectacular finale with adrenaline pumping horse racing.
The royal family decided to again hold the horse races the following year and this began the celebrations of Oktoberfest. Since then, the festival has become an annual affair and has come to be much loved by not only Germans but people of other nationalities as well.
Horse races are no longer organized, but beer has become an integral part of the festivities.
Though seeped in German traditions, in the past few years Oktoberfest has assumed gigantic proportions and is in the present day celebrated in every part of the world, ranging from Europe and America to Asia and Africa. However, the main celebrations are held in the German city of Munich, in Bavaria, where the festival originated.
It is the Mecca for beer lovers as here one can taste beer of various hues.
Here, one can get to taste authentic Munich beer as beer tenets at the festival can only sell beer that has been brewed in the city. Furthermore, the beer has to match the Bavarian Purity Requirements, so whatever one gets is not only authentic, but mind-boggling and would leave a wonderful taste in one's mouth for a long time.
Some scrumptious delicacies include the Hendl, which are whole chickens grilled on a spit.
Gorge on the Blaukohl, a red cabbage and apple dish. Accompanying the dish is roasted meats and potato dumplings.
Some of the deserts include Dampfnudel, which is a steamed honey-dumpling served with vanilla sauce, or apple strudel.
The Kaiserschmarrn is a sugared pancake with raisins.
Theresienwiese, the fairgrounds, which were named in honor of Princess Therese, witness a spectacular transformation just days before the festival is to begin.
The open spaces give way to beer tests, rides, amusements, vendors selling scrumptious delicacies and other numerous attractions.
The festival starts at noon when the mayor of Munich drives the wooden tap into a barrel of beer.
An amazing spectacle is the Costume and Riflemen's Procession, which is held on the first Sunday of the celebrations.
The streets of Munich come alive as approximately 7,000 performers depicting the diversity of the customs of Germany display a spectacular parade.
The second Sunday is dedicated to an open-air bag band concert, where around 400 musicians comprising all of Oktoberfest bands display an amazing performance in front of a cheering crowd.
Other celebrations that one can look forward to on Oktoberfest are Ferris Wheel, roller coaster ride, haunted house, flea circus, historic horse-drawn carriages among others.
The traditional clothing worn by men and women adds a colorful look to the festival.
Men can be seen wearing leather breeches known as Lederhosen.
Women are dressed in bodice, blouse, skirt and apron, and the whole garment is known as Dirndl.
Other than this, the Sennerhut also forms an important part of the traditional dress. This is a woollen hat and is embellished with lovely flowers and usually comprises the traditional symbols of the wearers hometown.
Last Updated: 5th January, 2018