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What is the Oktoberfest?

The Oktoberfest is an annual festival held during late September and early October in Munich, Germany. It is known as the world’s largest folk festival and attracts six million visitors on average each year, who consume a total of seven million litres of beer – this is nearly enough to fill up three Olympic-size swimming pools!

How did it start?

The festival started on Saturday 22nd September and ended on Sunday 7th October this year. The first ever Oktoberfest was held in 1810 as a wedding celebration for Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The celebration is believed to have lasted for five days of drinking, feasting, dancing and parading. The festival has then become an annual event, except during times of war, and it was the 185th time to be held this year.

What do you actually do in the festival?

The festival begins when the mayor of Munich taps open the first barrel of beer and shouts “O’zapft is!” which is the Bavarian phrase for “It’s tapped!” and visitors start drinking once the beer starts flowing. Although the main attraction is beer from six local breweries, there are many more things to do. Firstly, there is a wide variety of traditional food, including roast chicken, sausages and giant pretzels. There are 34 tents – both small and large – and only traditional Bavarian music is played in them, which the visitors enjoy dancing to. Furthermore, children are also able to have fun at the Oktoberfest, as there are fairground attractions.

Oktoberfest around the world

There are Oktoberfest replicas across the globe now: many are held in US cities, Canada, Australia, Brazil, China and it is expected to spread to more countries in the near future. Most of the festivals held outside of Germany consist of a mixture of German traditions such as the beer and music, and some local culture from those specific locations. This has enabled more people to experience what the festival is like without having to travel all the way to Germany.

Facts and figures about Oktoberfest

Every year, it takes between 12,000 and 13,000 staff to run the festival

4500 lost property items found each year including: 500 – 600 passports, 950 identity cards, 570 wallets, 300 pairs of glasses, 400 keys, 480 mobile phones, 2 wedding rings and one Segway!

Apart from beer, over 94,000 litres of wine and nearly 300,000 litres of coffee and tea is drunk, and 44,000 kg of fish and 550,000 units of chicken are eaten during the period of the festival

Eri Kamada(D)