Oktoberfest has a rich tradition and a very interesting past. It is one of the biggest fair of this earth, and the enthusiasm associated with the fest is unparalleled. Scroll down below to explore the history and tradition of the event, an event that started from 1810.
Welcome to the largest fair of this globe, a tradition that started two centuries ago. It started with about 40,000 people attending, which has grown to about 6.5 million in that location. It is also celebrated in different other locations around the world. Welcome to Oktoberfest.
Oktoberfest celebrations started way back to 12th October, 1810, and it was never a humble beginning. In fact, the fest has a royal touch to it. The Bavarian crown prince Ludwig tied the nuptial bonds with the Saxon-Hildburghausen princess Therese. To celebrate his wedding, he called upon all the citizens of Munich to join in the festivities which were held for five days on the fields in front of the city gates. He also organized a horse race, which attracted as a major crowd puller. To add to the fun were copious amounts of Beer and fun. Ludwig was an avid student of history, and he supplemented the event taking his cues from the ancient Olympics, adding different sporting events. The modern Olympics are said to have evolved from this event. The participation and the enthusiasm was so high right in the first year, that it was decided that the event of horse race would be held again in the next year, in conjunction with the state agricultural show. A tradition was born.
Over the years, the horse race and the sporting events died down, but the old flavor and the fest remained. It is still celebrated in the same ground, known as Theresienwiese (Abbreviated to Wiesn by the locals) after the princess, Beer rules (in massive beer tents sponsored by the five giant beer breweries), and people attend it with the same enthusiasm, if not more.
The grand Oktoberfest opening processions took place in 1887. And towards the end of the century, it was suggested that the event be shifted to September, as the days gets shorter and colder in October. Thus, now, we have most of the Oktoberfest celebrations in September, and it extends till the first weekend of October, spanning for 16 days. In fact, the whole of Munich in Germany bustles with activity in these two weeks, with visitors coming from every part of the world.
In its history of two centuries, it was cancelled only for 24 times, all due to grave reasons. Here are the details:
There have been 24 cancellations in Oktoberfest history – here’s why:
1813 – Germany went to war against Napoleon
1854 – Cholera epidemic spanning across the country
1866 – War again. Bavaria and Austria fought a war against Prussia (now Northern Germany and parts of Poland)
1873 – Cholera strikes again.
1914 to 1918 – World War I
1919 to 1920 – Recovery from the war, a small autumn festival, however, was held.
1923 to 1924 – Hyperinflation in Germany, and fests were out of question.
1939 to 1945 – World War Two and Dictatorship of Hitler.
1946 to 1948 – Country recovering from the aftermath of the war. Some autumn festivals were held instead.
Since 1947, it has been steady, and has been growing from strength to strength. Its appeal is also making it spread across the globe.