Since my new novel, Bavarian Beauty, includes a little bit about Oktoberfest, I’ll be posting about the festival and Bavaria during the days of the festival. Kinda like I posted photos of Brazilian cities during this year’s World Cup.
First up, a bit of history…
It all started with love. Well, a wedding at least — and it’s nice to hope there was love there. But you know how it is with royals, especially a long time ago when marriages may have been for alliances rather than love.
The Big Bavarian Wedding, as described at Wikipedia:
“Crown Prince Ludwig, later to become King Ludwig I, was married to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen on October 12, 1810. The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the happy royal event. The fields were named Theresienwiese (‘Theresa’s meadow’) in honor of the Crown Princess, and have kept that name ever since, although the locals have since abbreviated the name simply to the ‘Wiesn.'”
What did these love birds look like, you ask? Here’s King Ludwig I:
And here’s Queen Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen:
Celebrating this wedding became an annual event, and Oktoberfest was born. Each year, it starts off with a bang (Wikipedia):
“Since 1950, there has been a traditional festival opening: A twelve gun salute and the tapping of the first keg of Oktoberfest beer at 12:00 by the incumbent Mayor of Munich with the cry ‘O’zapft is!’ (‘It’s tapped!’ in the Austro-Bavarian dialect) opens the Oktoberfest.”
Yes, beer (or bier) is a big part of the festival. As is the food: sausages, roast chicken, pretzels, potato dumplings, potato pancakes, sauerkraut, and much more.
How much is eaten? Vistawide.com says:
“Oktoberfest, the world’s largest beer festival, is held annually in Munich, Germany. The 16-day party attracts over 6 million people every year 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.”
There’s a parade honoring the one that the happy townsfolk started way back in 1810. There are lots of amusement park rides, too — it looks to me that a whole lot of fun is packed in the 16 days of the festival, starting in late September and ending on the first weekend in October.
If you’re like me, you’re wondering, why doesn’t Oktoberfest start in October? Good question. Again, let’s turn to Vistawide.com:
“The festival was eventually prolonged and moved ahead to September to allow for better weather conditions. Today, the last day of the festival is the first Sunday in October.”
But enough about descriptions! Let’s see a few pics of the festival (click on each to jump to the photographer’s webpage):
Finally, lest we forget that this whole party started with the pairing of lovers: