Every end of September to the beginning of October, the words “I will go to Wiesn” will often to be heard from the mouth of the German people. That words can be heard anywhere, in Berlin, in Frankfurt, in Koeln, or other cities. The meaning of the words turned out to be the same: the speaker wanted to come to Oktoberfest to have fun.
“Wiesn” means Theresienwiese, a place in Munich, Germany. Then, what is Oktoberfest?
Oktoberfest is the largest annual beer festival in the world that is held at Theresienwiese. This festival usually lasts for 16 days, from the end of September to the beginning of October, and is visited by an average of around six million people from all corners of the world.
Characteristics of the festival: most visitors wear Trachts (traditional Bavarian outfits), abundant food, amusement rides, folk music offerings, spilled beers, and the opening by Mayor of Munich. And the beer party case, the signs can even be seen since the beginning of the festival.
So, how did this festival begin?
Starting from a wedding
The first Oktoberfest took place on October 12, 1810, exactly 209 years ago. Before becoming a beer party, Oktoberfest was originally a celebration of a marriage feast between the Crown Prince of Bavaria , King Ludwig I, and Princess Theresa of Sachsen Hildburghausen.
At that time, to establish unity in Munich, Ludwig I deliberately invited all residents to participate in his party, which was held at the city gate, that would later be known as Theresienwiese. The wedding party that lasted for six days turned out to be a people’s party: food was spilled, many parades were held, and horse racing was the main attraction.
The party was arguably a huge success. Every day the people of Munich always come in droves to the party, and on the final day, there are around 10,000 people watching horse racing events. So city officials then have an exciting idea: they want a similar people’s party held every year in the same place with a different concept.
Ludwig I agreed with that idea. He, who admired the history of ancient Greece, then wanted to conceptualize the party like an Olympic event. But after Oktoberfest continued, Ludwig’s concept changed direction. The reason: the Ferris wheel, the carousel, and the circus are certainly more fun than horse racing, tree climbing competitions, and geese chasing competitions. Besides, Munchen people also prefer to drink beer to celebrate a party or by gambling and playing cards like in the Las Vegas had.
The party is a celebration party to welcome the new season of brewing. Taking place in October, at the party, the residents of Munchen will spend their Marzen beer stock, a variant of lager beer, which they have. It is said that they believe that Marzen, which has a high alcohol content, can help them to get through the brewing season easily.
Knowing that, after the Olympic concept failed, Ludwig I tried to limit beer in every Oktoberfest celebration. In 1844, for example, he dealt with how to raise beer prices in Munich. However, the planned increase in beer prices turned out to immediately get strong opposition from residents of Munich. The reason is Munchen people like to live without many things, but can’t live without beer.
Since then, the Oktoberfest has become increasingly synonymous with beer festivals. And in the title of Oktoberfest 1896, officially beer tents began to take part in the event.