A Little History on Oktoberfest
Tony back here again and as VoyEdeRX’s resident historian, I feel compelled to give some background on the cities we visit, the festivals we attend, and the people we meet while there. I will write about one of these things at least every two weeks (I will try for one a week) so hopefully, you can learn something that day or better yet, it drives you to go visit there at some point in your life!
This week I am going to need you to pull up a stuhl (German for stool) because I am going to hit you hard and fast with a little German festival you may have heard of before and the history behind it. I will dabble a bit in the pomp of it all but I feel the reasoning and culture behind it should be brought to the forefront.
Welcome to Munich, home of BMW, the 1972 Olympics, Bayern Munich (my favorite football team), Lou Bega (of ‘Mambo #5’ fame), the notable residence of Freddie Mercury (best singer of all time and if you disagree you are wrong), and of course Oktoberfest. That is a pretty impressive resume if I say so myself, but I am here to focus mainly on one of those events and that is of course the birth of Lou Be……..OKTOBERFEST!
You know all about the beer, pretzels, schnitzel, and dirndl/lederhosen but why do Bavarians and people from all over the world come by the millions to drink beer and sing songs with each other? Why did this start and why has it been able to keep its momentum for so many years?
Well, the answer is easy. Sometimes, people get married, and you just gotta celebrate. And back on October 12th, 1810, King Ludwig I and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen did just that in the fields in front of the city gates.
These fields were named Theresienwiese (Theresa’s Meadow) to make sure the crown princess knew it was her special day (insert eye roll). But for peasants like yourself and I there is usually a wedding, a dinner, then a reception where you, your close friends and family and twelve people you don’t give a shit about, get wasted and dance terribly until you pass out on the floor of your local Holiday Inn all in one day.
Ludwig and the princess however, had horse races and a whole two-week long celebration, because you know that love lasts about two weeks or so right? This started the annual celebration and throughout the decades the size, scope and influence of the festival has taken on a whole new meaning.
Aside from a couple cancellations due to cholera and a few different wars (cough cough WWI and WW2) the Oktoberfest celebration has held firm as a way to bring people from around the world together to forget their cares for a weekend or three and just celebrate life and the fun that is possible to have with total strangers. Your most traumatic experience here will be fighting to find a place to relieve your bladder (males, we have it pretty good. Females, you deserve a medal) but that is all part of the experience.
This concludes my little historical rundown of Oktoberfest and why it exists. We are very lucky to live in a time that allows us to visit this magical festival and meet some pretty great people along the way.
No matter where you may be and what you may have as a beverage next to you right now, I encourage you put this place on your bucket list. If you want to join VRX from Budapest to Munich, GREAT! If you want to go to Oktoberfest on your own, GREAT!
If you are not a beer drinker there is still plenty to do and things to see around Munich (a Munich writeup is coming down the pipeline) but you can still be a part of the experience, and life is about experiences! So raise whatever that beverage next to you may be and to you I shout, PROST!!!
- Largest Tent: Winzerer Fahndl (Paulaner) holds almost 11,000 people
- Other tents hold between 6,000 – 9,0000
- Attendance in one year: About 7 million
- Beers Poured: 6-6.5 million
And if you have any questions, hit me up at: firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll hope to see you on the trip down below!