Oktoberfest is often referred to as the biggest festival on Earth, with an average attendance of 6 million people every year. It is a fantastic celebration of German culture and tradition; you find everything from excellent German beer to traditional clothes and music. But what exactly is this grand celebration and how did it start? Here are 6 things that you need to know about Oktoberfest!
It takes place mostly in September!
Even though the name suggests that the festival is held in October, in reality, September gets the party started. Since the festival is around 2 weeks long it usually beings during the last week of September and ends in the first week of October. On that note, this year’s dates for the festival are Sep 22, 2018 – Oct 7, 2018.
It started in celebration of a royal wedding!
When Crown Prince Ludwig married the of Princess of Saxony-Hildburghausen, Princess Therese, on 12th October 1810, the citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivals’ being held on the fields outside the city gates. Horse races were held in the presence of the royal family, and it was decided to repeat the races in the following year, this started the tradition of the festival of Oktoberfest.
But for the first few decades, the festivals focused mainly on the horse races, any other form of amusement was limited. Only a few beer stalls to help the thirsty visitors, but as the demand for beer grew so did the number of beer stalls. And it was in 1896 that these beer stands were replaced with beer tents.
Locals don’t call it ‘Oktoberfest.’
It might come as a surprise to you, but the locals don’t call the festival Oktoberfest, but rather Wiesh. It comes from the name of the fields where the original royal festival was held. After the celebration of the royal wedding, the fields were called Theresienwiese, in honor of the new princess. Over the years this name got shorter until ‘Wiesh’ became the common term. Now the locals call the festival Wiesh!
Cards are a big NO NO!
Even though cash machines can be found in the festival, cards can be huge incontinences. The line to these machines are huge and not only that, but you also end up having to pay large extra fees. The best way to avoid getting stuck in lines, while having to pay extra, is by bringing along cash. Additionally, if you’re a foreigner and run out of money, then you can easily ask a friend or family to transfer money via reliable services like Ria.
However, keep in mind the Oktoberfest is not cheap, so you will need to bring a little extra just in case.
Moreover, most importantly don’t forget to take coins to give as tips!
Entry is free!
Entry into both the tents and the festival is free of cost, so you don’t need to buy any tickets for that. But it is always wise to make reservations in the tents, especially the more popular ones, as it can get pretty crowded at times.
Also, don’t let the free entry fool you, because beer and food can get pretty pricey in the festival.
Everyone is welcome!
During the festival, you will come across people of all shapes and sizes. Everyone is welcome at this festival. Even kids are allowed in but, kids younger than 6 have to leave before 8pm. Also, LGBTQ+ people even have a special day called ‘Gay Sunday’ on the first Sunday of the festival.
Oktoberfest is truly the biggest party on the planet. You will have the time of your life there. Meeting new people, making lasting memories and having lots of beer, so next time you’re in town, make sure you attend Oktoberfest!