Festivals & Events

The History of Oktoberfest

Get your basics right before attending Oktoberfest.

The History of Oktoberfest

(Posted with permission from Serpsonic)

Every year we attend different festivals to have some fun and learn a little. These can be for anything and everything, with music, art, movies, culture, video games, toys, books, history and more being the focus of events that allow like-minded people come together to share what they love. One festival that is popular across the world and continues to grow is Oktoberfest.


What is Oktoberfest?

A celebration of Germany and beer, people from all over unite to laugh, have fun and a few drinks.

While an Oktoberfest event anywhere is the world is common, the original is celebrated in Munich. The main festival is the largest beer function in the world and occurs every September for over two weeks. It attracts over six million people from all ends of the world. Huge amounts of beer are consumed, with 7.7 million litres in 2013 alone. You can play games, check outside stalls and go on some rides, making it much more than what you drink.


Image by: Wikimedia Commons


How To Prepare for Oktoberfest

  1. Buy a dirndl or lederhosen
  2. Check out this Oktoberfest themed beer-slot
  3. Make and eat Oktoberfest food


Of all the steps, knowing more about it is the first step. Oktoberfest as we know it is a big fair where we can enjoy some food and lots of beer but how did it begin? Was it always like this? Why do we celebrate it? These are all good questions and ones with interesting answers.


The History of Oktoberfest

The first Oktoberfest was held in 1811. It’s 1810 when the story begins though, as Munich had a celebration for the wedding between Crown Prince Ludwig (who later became king) and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. The people of the town had a big celebration and horse races were dedicated to the newlyweds. This event would prove so popular that the people of Munich chose to hold it every year. A show was added to promote Bavarian agriculture, then bowling, swings and other games and attractions came about. Carnival booths became a staple, as did parades and brass bands. The name Oktoberfest has stuck around a long time, despite it being in the first half of the 18th century that the event was moved to September as the evenings were lighter and warmer.

It was 1887 that Oktoberfest started to become more about beer culture. The manager of that year’s event was Hans Steyrer who would bring a brass band and barrels of beer to the meadow. More and more brewers would become part of the occasion and beer became the main event. In the true Munich Oktoberfest, only beer produced within the city limits can be served, with strict criteria to ensure this.


Oktoberfest Today

Today, Oktoberfest has numerous tents that are dedicated to different things. Marstall is one of the largest tents and is responsible for most of the brass band music. The Crossbowman’s Tent features an archery contest that has been held since 1885. Hofbräu-Festzelt is the largest beer tent and always has huge amounts of visitors. Hacker-Festzelt will host rock bands during the evening. There are countless other tents you can visit dedicated to many things, but most of them for beer. Some will be suitable for families and children, with beer not being allowed at Oktoberfest on the first Saturday.

Oktoberfest is always a highlight of the beer festival circuit and this year from September 16th to October 3rd will bring food, fun, and beer to the throngs of people who flock to be there.


Now that you know the history of Oktoberfest, check out these other articles to help you prepare for and learn more about the German Beer Celebration:

Your New Oktoberfest Accessory: Beer-Proof Shoes

How to Pick the Perfect Lederhosen

How to Pick the Perfect Dirndl for Oktoberfest

List of Oktoberfests Around the World

Foods for the 16 Days of Oktoberfest

The Beer Maids and Beer Waiters of Oktoberfest


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