Why is there an annual beer festival?
The Oktoberfest has its origins in the year 1810. However, it looked a bit different then, as the first Oktoberfest was a horse-race, held as a part of the wedding festivities of Bavarian King Ludwig I. and his wife Theresie.
The people liked that horse-race so much, that it became an annual event, which then developed into what we know as Oktoberfest today, as the focus shifted more and more away from the horse-race and towards fun rides and drinking beer.
The Oktoberfest is the world’s largest funfair held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. It is a 16-day festival running from late September to the first weekend in October.
Every year there are about 7 million visitors to the 42 hectare Theresienwiese, who consume 1.5 million gallons of beer, 200,000 pairs of pork sausage, and 480,000 spit-roasted chickens during the two-week extravaganza. 72% of the people are from Bavaria. 15% of visitors come from foreign countries like the surrounding EU-countries and other non-European countries including the United States, Canada, Australia and East Asia.
Most of the visitors are dressed in typical Bavarian clothes, in Dirndls and Lederhosen.
Liter, Maß, Hoibe – how does that work?
The most common drink to order at the Oktoberfest is “eine Maß Bier.”
“Maß” means that you will get one liter of beer. “Maß” means “measure” or “unit” in German and is female: “Die Maß”. Correctly pronounced, “Maß” rhymes with “buzz”. What a coincidence…
What do I eat?
Pork, chicken or oxen. Roast pork is usually served with dumplings made from potato-dough and a very hearty sauce. The same goes for the oxen.
A very popular Bavarian snack is half a chicken. The important thing is the skin of the chicken, which is extremely well-spiced and should always be very crispy. In Bavarian it is calles “a hoibads Hendl”.