There are three things which bring people together: Food, Friends, and Fests. The biggest fest, the Oktoberfest, is surely one of them with home-grown food, locally brewed beer and a pack of your friends, sounds like a party already. But, this age-old fest got a lot to offer apart from just being a great source of entertainment. It surely reflects culture, tradition and spirit festivity. Let’s know more about this blend of fun and heritage.
This two-week-long saga is where people come together, party and drink to their heart’s content. But ever thought that a fest being called Oktoberfest is actually starting in September. Something just doesn’t fit well. When this festival started in 1810, it lasts for a week in the month of October itself. Eventually, due to the change in weather and an increase in fandom for this festival, it began to start in the month of September and ended in the month of October.
Why did the fest start?
The then Crown Prince, Ludwig I when got married to Princess Therese in 1810, soon after the ceremony, this festival came into existence and since then, it has been one of the main attractions of Germany. Initially, it started with horse races which only existed until 1938. Eventually, it started to have agricultural fairs, then came the much-awaited beer pubs in association with performances by local artists.
What initially started as an extended celebration of a Royal Wedding, which is now a full-blown tradition. Now it has its own dress code, a series of events and other traditions which are followed without fail.
- By 1887, the fest had its own traditional garb aka costume which was Lederhosen and Dirndls and are still in tradition.
- The parade is inaugurated by a parade that involves the Mayor and other leaders. This procession is then followed by brewer carts which are drawn by, you guessed it right, horses! There are people from the town all dolled up in traditional costumes, the vibe is just so vintage
- The highlight and maybe the most anticipated part is the end of the parade, wherein the first keg of beer is opened by the Mayor with a toast and then everybody else follows. This usually occurs at the oldest private tent known as Schottenhamel where the parade as well, ends.
The famous “Oktoberfest Beer”
Beer is a synonym to this fest the reason for it is special as well. The beer of this fest is called Märzen which means a beer which is made in March. Now you’ll ask why then it is special in the month of September and October?
The Märzen beer although brewed in the month of March but it takes time to actually be serve-worthy. Therefore, casks are used to preserve these brews throughout summer to ripe and age while the year progresses towards the Oktoberfest. The beer which is consumed is during the festival has about 6% alcohol content and hence the beer is the strongest and it is so on purpose. How thrilling is that!
But mind you, the qualifications which a beer needs to be entered into the fest is pretty tight. The beer must;
- The brewery must in the limits of the city
- There are German Beer Purity Laws, which then needs to be passed
The Next essential is? FOOD! German Food.
You can’t keep chugging that beautifully brew all alone, you need those gorgeous pretzels, some sausages and of course, chicken to compliment your taste buds. Let’s see what all German Delicacies are adorning the festival along with that favorite beer of yours.
- Bavarian Brez'n: The softest pretzel is the competitor which is famous equally as the beer. In the common tongue, it is called Brez’n.
- Sassy Sausages: Hold on, the word is not sassy for those sausages, but when you read the next lines, you will know why we are addressing them sassy! Served with wheat beer only at breakfast, these sausages are called Weisswurst in the local dialect which means ‘white sausages’. The name is so because the meat is filled inside white skin, which you are crafty enough to extract meat from or go with the way locals figure around it, just suck the meat out of it without eating the skin. Now you know why sassy!
- Easy-Breezy sausages: Yep, there are sausages that are easier to consume and are without many rules. They can be feasted upon at any time of the day and are usually accompanied by a bread roll. It also has a local which is Weis’n, named after the ground, or the field where the festival is hosted.
- More Meat, Fishes and wait, what? WINE!: Your taste buds might want more, we are all greedy when comes to authentic food, aren't we? Well, for all you foodies, there is more than just types of sausages on the menu of Oktoberfest. There are fishes and meats as well along with wine, after all that buzz about the beer, yes there is wine too!
When comes to seafood, they serve fish, crabs, and shrimps, with a side of bread roll, mayo and yes, bavarian beer.
Meats include roasted ox and pork which is actually part of the tradition. Apart from all this meat, there is a chicken as well, if you think you have hit your saturation with the meat!
- You need those Sugaries!: After all that savory and strong beer, one needs to take care of the sweet tooth as well. You got crepes, waffles with whipped cream, oozing chocolate and caramelized nuts if that is not enough. There is something both sweet and savory as well, that is “Dampfnudle” that is actually just steamed noodles made into a dumpling. What makes it sweet or savory, is the sauce you want it to be dipped in. It comes with veggies, herbs, and cheese if liked savory, and with vanilla sauce, melted butter and hot cherries if like sweet!
The most bizarre and yet astonishing happens in this fest!
- Stone Beer Mugs: You want something to remember those drunk days, what is better than the mug itself? It is reported that visitors often stole the mugs they chug beer and the mood can’t get any friskier than this. You go, guys!
- The flock of people: Almost every year, there is a turnout of about 6.3 million people for the fest. Also, in the year 1999 6.5 million people showed up for the festival.
- Beer that can fill swimming pools at a stretch: It is known for the beer and beer what makes it so appealing to the crowd. The beer served at the festival is equivalent to the water which can be filled into 153 swimming pools.
- Paris Hilton is Banned!: Once when she attended the fest, the dress she was wearing was inappropriate according to the local organizers. Rules are rules, and Oktoberfest made it sure!
One can go on about the beauty, tradition, and fun this fest brings every year. Two weeks of just pure being with people you love whilst experiencing the taste of old traditions and the wardrobe is a must, the takeaway and message this fest gives. Rules and beer are odd to be seen together, but that is what makes this age of festivity all the more fun.