6 million litres of beer for 6 million visitors
Like every year in Munich, September is synonymous with Oktoberfest, the world's largest festival dedicated to beer.
The traditional meeting loved by beer-lovers, which this year takes place from the 17th of September to 3rd of October, will be enriched by the celebrations for the issue of the Bavarian beer purity Act, promulgated by Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria exactly 500 years ago, in 1516. This Decree is still in force and imposes stringent requirements since the 16th century in order to produce beer. In fact, the only ingredients allowed are water, hops and barley. The flavor of the beer will then depend exclusively from the secret recipes and processing of brewmasters.
But the history of the Oktoberfest is not linked to beer at all, and actually relates to Prince Ludwig, later King Ludwig I, and his wedding with Princess Therese on the 12th of October 1810. The wedding’s celebrations lasted 5 entire days, and there were shows across the city of Munich with free access to the Opera (for all social classes), dancing in the streets and of course a horse race. The festival will, over the following years, also have the capability of forging the identity of the "new" Bavarians and removing from their minds the Franco-Prussian War. But if it takes place in September then why is it called Oktoberfest (literally the celebration of October)? Simply because it originally took place in October, but the growing success of the event led it to anticipating the festivities in September, in order to enjoy a more pleasant climate and take advantage of the longer light hours.
It’s by the name of Princess Teresa that "Theresienwiese" (Teresa’s garden) takes its name, the venue where the Oktoberfest cyclically is held, to the west of Munich's city centre, which locals shorten in Wiesn. As at today, the Oktoberfest was cancelled only 24 times due to the wars and a cholera epidemic. This year will be the 183rd time for Bavarians and tourists from around the world, who dressed up in traditional clothes, will wait all together for the fateful words that will kick off the gushes of "liquid gold" and gargantuan banquets: "Ozapft ist's!" ("It's tapped!"). With such an enthusiastic assertion, the Mayor of Munich taps the first beer’s barrel, declaring the festivities open.
The protagonists of the celebrations have always been the six historical breweries of Munich: Paulaner, Spaten, Hacker-Pschorr, Augustiner, Lowenbrau and Hofbrau, which every year thirst-quench about six million visitors with about 6 million liters of beer. The average price of a Mass of 1 liter is 10 euros, usually served by waitresses in traditional dirndls. The latter is also an indicator of "marital status" for Bavarian girls, since the positioning of the bow varies due to the availability of the mädchen’s heart.
More information about the city and its history can be found in our recent article:
and the websites of tourist offices: