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  • Elisabeth Lach

The München Oktoberfest

Last weekend, I went to Oktoberfest with my family. It was very crowded, and we saw a lot of people wearing traditional Bavarian clothes. They are called “Trachten”. The women wear a dress with an apron called a Dirndl. Men wear short leather trousers which are called Lederhosen. You can spend a lot of money on these traditional Bavarian clothes but you don’t have to, normal clothes are fine too.

When you arrive, the first thing that happens is they check your bag. When you enter the Oktoberfest at one of the many entrances, you can see many tents in which loud music can be heard playing. In those tents you can eat food and drink beer. A very traditional tent is the Käfer tent, where all the celebrities catch up. Among the various available delicious dishes are Schnitzel and Pretzel, Knödel and a Bavarian doughnut. If you don’t want to enter the crowded tents, there are many food stands outside that also sell the same delicious snacks.

The Oktoberfest is known as the largest “Volksfest” (eng. folk festival) in the world. During the event, large quantities of Oktoberfest Beer are consumed; in 2022, 5.6 million litres (about 1479363.2 gallons) were served.

Not only are there beer tents and food stands, but there are also various attractions. There is a big wheel from which you can see the whole Theresienwiese. There is also the Devil’s Wheel (Teufelsrad), the Toboggan, the Olympia which has five loops, the Sky falls and many more. However, beware, everything is very expensive, not just the food. One ride costs four euros!

Besides the food and beer, the festival is full of Bavarian music, open-air performances, a grand parade, shooting competitions and gun salutes.

The Munich Oktoberfest starts on the second or third Saturday of September and commences at noon when the mayor of Munich taps the first barrel and shouts “O’zapft is” which means it is open.

The festival originated on 12th October 1810, in celebration of the marriage of the crown prince of Bavaria, who later became King Ludwig I, to princess Therese. This is the reason why the name of the fairgrounds is called Theresienwiese. In honour of the silver wedding anniversary of the King and Princess, a traditional costume parade took place in 1835 for the first time. In 1895 it already had 1.400 participants in 150 traditional costume groups. From 1910 the Dirndl and Lederhosen came up as traditional fashion.

Oktoberfest is an important part of Bavarian culture. Other cities, for example London, also hold Oktoberfest celebrations that are modelled after the original Munich event. During the Covid pandemic the Bavarian Minister President and the Mayor of Munich announced the cancelation of the Oktoberfest in 2020 and 2021.

I had a wonderful day with my family, a lot of laughter, a lot of rides and most importantly a lot of delicious traditional Bavarian food. Of course, my beer mug was not filled with beer, but instead with apple juice and water. I'm definitely looking forward to going again next year.

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