The inaugural Oktoberfest was first celebrated in Munich in 1810 in honor of Prince Ludwig’s marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The festivities began October 12, 1810, and lasted nearly a week until October 17.
When you see large bear tents, carousels and Germans dressed in dirndls and lederhosen in Munich, Germany, be sure, the grand Oktoberfest has finally arrived. Though most of it takes place in September, the grand Bavarian fiesta is still known as Oktoberfest. The festival is about two centuries old. With time the festival has gone beyond Germany and is today celebrated as one of the largest festivals of the world. Visitors from all parts of the world come to Germany to celebrate the sixteen day carnival.
The Oktoberfest celebration has a royal history story behind it. To know more about the Oktoberfest history read through the following lines.
- The annual celebration originally began in the Bavarian capital, Munich. The origin of the carnival dates back to 12 October 1810 when the Crown Prince Ludwig, who later became King Ludwig I, wedded Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen.
- Entire Munich was invited to attend the wedding ceremonies which lasted over five days. The royal wedding was held on the fields in front of the city gates. To honor the Crown Princess the field was christened as Theresienwiese which meant “Theres’a Fields”.
- The entire event culminated with a grand horse race event on October 17. This event took place in the presence of the royal family. Since then horse race became an important tradition of Oktoberfest.
- First ever Oktoberfest was held in Munich on October 18, 1810. As an honor to the grand royal celebration, the leaders of Munich decided to celebrate the event annually.
- Second year, 1811, horse race was held along with a state agricultural show. This decision of having an agricultural show was taken to boost the Bavarian agriculture.
- Today, horse race is no longer held. They have been replaced by beer carts. However, the tradition of having a Bavarian Agricultural Show still continues. It is held once in every three years during the Oktoberfest.
- The one day festival was later expanded to sixteen days of revelry. The fest moved ahead to September due to the better weather conditions of this month. Leaders decided that Oktoberfest would start from the third weekend of September and end on the first Sunday of October.
- Recently, in the year 2006 the celebration was further extended to two extra days. This decision was taken to combine the German Unity Day holiday along with Oktoberfest celebrations. Since then, if the first Sunday of October comes on October 1 or 2, Oktoberfest celebrations move until October 3 which is a German national holiday.
- First few years, the festival offered fewer choices of amusements. In the year 1818 the first carousel and swings were brought in. Small beer tents and halls were arranged with the help of breweries. Special Oktoberfest beer served on the occasion. In the 1870’s number of carousels and other mechanical rides rapidly increased. Today, the festival includes traditional music, food, dress and lavish drinking.
- It was decided that Oktoberfest annually with no exceptions. However due to wars and cholera epidemics the celebration has been disrupted 24 times.
- Oktoberfest is celebrated worldwide in one form or the other. It is one of the most famous events in Germany and an important element of Bavarian culture
- Almost six million people attend the fair every year. Oktoberfest history is all about drinking best beer, tapping on great music, wearing beautiful outfits and enjoying lots. Late September and early October witness celebration at its peak and the whole world is welcomed to join in.