Oktoberfest is the world’s biggest beer festival. It draws in over 6 million visitors every year. Germans and foreigners all flock to the festival to drink dance and be merry. My time spent at Oktoberfest known by the locals at die Wiesn was unforgettable. Before I went on my trip I wanted know the origins of the festival and now I get to share what I discovered with you.
The original Wiesn was held to celebrate a wedding. In 1810 on the 12th of October the Crown Prince of Bavaria, Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxon-Hildburghausen.The celebrations were opened to the public. The festivities took place at a field in front of Münich’s city gates. Today the fields are called Theresienwiese (Theresa’s fields) the name pays homage to Princess Theresa. The common colloquial name is now simply Weisn.
Oktoberfest now lasts much longer 16-18 days and it starts in September. The starting date was moved because weather tends to be better during September. Autumn starts on the 23rd of September in Germany. In general September has better weather conditions as oppose to October.
Horse races were part of the original celebrations. The Royal family attended and the races marked the close of the wedding celebrations. In 1811 the horse races were repeated and this led to an annual celebration. Today the horse racing is no longer part of Oktoberfest.
The 1811 festivities included an agricultural show. This was done to promote the agricultural production of Bavaria. Today this exhibit is hosted every 3 years. You can find it on the southern part of the fest grounds.
Today there are many carnival rides and stalls at Oktoberfest. Back in 1818 was when one carousel and two swings were added. Oktoberfest attendees bought beer at small beer stands. Beer halls were eventually built. And by the 1870’s more festival rides were introduced. There’s now a Ferris wheel, water slide, rollercoaster, food stalls, souvenir shops and like music.
Oktoberfest remains a festive event. It started off as a wedding reception and now it’s grown. I like that it was originally a celebration of love. I also like that the fairgrounds are named after Princess Theresa having something lovely named after a women is always fantastic. And so now you know the history of Oktoberfest.
Thank you for reading my blog and if you want to comment please feel free to do so. I love reading comments and I’m open to chatting.
Wishing you many happy travels through the journey of life!
xxx Nikki xxx