Oktoberfest is the ultimate celebration of German beer, food and Bavarian culture! Germany’s largest volksfest is famous around the world and is held annually in autumn in the Bavarian region of Germany. The festival is all about bringing people together from around the world to celebrate with great food, merrymaking and beer, of course!
Oktoberfest 2021 was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the original Oktoberfest in Munich is set to take place once again from 17 September to 3 October 2022.
Oktoberfest is the world’s largest folk festival, hosted each year in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. The first-ever Oktoberfest was a marriage celebration for the Bavarian crown prince Ludwig and Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen held on 12 October 1810. The festival date was later moved to September to allow for better weather conditions, but the name stuck.
At the first celebrations, festival-goers were entertained by traditions such as tree climbing contests, sack races and goose chases. Years later, carousels, swings and beer stands were added for visitors – the start of Oktoberfest as we know it today!
Today Oktoberfest is a 16-day festival that attracts literally millions of people from all over the world! More than 6 million people attended Oktoberfest in 2019, drinking more than 60 000 hectolitres of beer.
The big attraction is the six big breweries that serve beer in over beer 14 tents: Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Löwenbräu, Paulaner, Spaten and Hofbrauhäus. But Oktoberfest is like a massive state fair and the festival fairgrounds offer something for young and old, like carnival rides, roller coasters, yodelling contests and beer tasting contests – to just name a few! The best part is getting to know German culture and experiencing the atmosphere of people singing and having a good time.
The festival grounds are located at the Theresienwiese, a meadow outside of Munich named after Prince Ludwig’s wife and referred to by the locals as the ‘Wies’n’. The beer tents open at 9:00 am over weekends and 10:00 am on weekdays and they stop serving beer at 10:30 pm and close the tents around 11:30 pm.
Spending one or two days at Oktoberfest is more than enough. Most of the locals join in on the fun for only a day or two and then head back home. Tourists generally stay longer, but to be honest, one can only consume so much beer and wurst. Booking out one of two days to spend at the Oktoberfest Festivities in Munich or Berlin is more than enough.
Dressing up for Oktoberfest is a must! Locals and visitors dress up in traditional Bavarian outfits. Men usually wear a shirt, bandana, lederhosen, suspenders, socks, shoes and hat. You can see women dressed in dirndl, blouse, apron and ribbon necklace. To look the part, you can invest in expensive designer wear or simply buy a €50 outfit at any of the local stores in Munich and Berlin. Lederhosen or Dirndl of good quality cost around €150. Alternatively, outfits can also be rented for a couple of days.
Weisswurst: White sausage (usually served for breakfast with wheat beer)
Bratwurst: Pork sausage (served with a bread roll)
Hendl: Rotisserie Chicken
Sauerkraut: Pickled Cabbage
Apfelstrudel: Apple Strudel
Schweinshaxe: Pickled Ham (served with sauerkraut and potatoes)
Dampfnudel: Bread dumpling (savoury dish with herbs, cheese and vegetables or as a sweet dessert with vanilla sauce and melted butter)
Travel tip: If you’re not into beer you can also attend the “Weinzelt” or “Wine Tent”, where they serve 15 different varieties of red and white German wine; or try “Weinschorle” – red or white wine mixed with sparkling water.
It’s not a problem if you can’t speak German, most tents have English menus available and since the festival is an international tourist destination waitresses can speak basic English. However, you can come prepared by learning some basic phrases…
Thank you: Danke
You’re welcome: Bitte Schön
One Stein of beer please: Ein Maẞ bitte (pronounced mass) Beer is served in one-litre glass mugs or in Bavarian language a “Maẞ”.
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