6th April 2021
The Oktoberfest is the festival of the year for Germans and party enthusiasts across the world; a two-and-a-half week constant flow of music and traditional Bavarian pints to excite the party animals.
This festival takes place in mid-September and finishes on the first Sunday of October. It is held in the famous German city and the Bavarian state capital of Munich where over 6 million people attend the festival each year. Not only is there the main event in Munich but most major cities will hold their own “Mini-Oktoberfest” like London where they comparatively attract a measly 5,000 people each year.
One of the most famous and significant parts of the festival is the beers. Choice of beer is definitely not taken lightly in the state capital of Bavaria. Due to this only six locally sourced beers are allowed to be served at the festival; these being Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu, Löwenbräu, Paulaner, and Spaten all of which must present their newly brewed beers a few weeks before the festival commences to increase the anticipation of the highlight of the year. Most of these breweries have been going for a long time – Augustiner for example has been brewing since the early 14th century. In 2019, 7.3 million litres of beer were poured out at the Oktoberfest which apparently was a poor year compared to the numbers of 2014: then a record 7.7 million litres were poured. And all of this beer is being consumed before 7pm, which is the traditional closing time in the evening – drinking starts at 11am most days. While beer is a crucial part of the Oktoberfest, it’s also becoming a luxury if price trends continue to develop the way they have in recent years. The prices for a Maß (a traditional 1 litre mug) have been going up, amounting to almost 12 euros per mug in 2019.
The original Oktoberfest was in celebration of the marriage of King Ludwig the first and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen on 12th October 1810. The festival began as a horse racing event but later quickly developed into more of a festival, with beer quickly overtaking horses as the main attraction.
Another tradition of the Oktoberfest is the dress code. It is custom for the men to wear the classic Lederhosen, short leather breeches, and for women to wear a Dirndl, a Bavarian dress usually blue or green. These outfits will assure you blend into the crowd even if you are just a tourist visiting for the thrills of the Oktoberfest.