History of Oktoberfest Munich

Oktoberfest is the largest folk festival in the world, held over 16 days and attended by more than six million people. However, it started as a royal wedding with horse races and a 40,000-strong crowd of well-wishers. On October 12, 1810, Bavaria’s Prince Ludwig (who became King Ludwig I), invited all of the people of Munich to help celebrate his wedding to his new wife, Princess Therese.

Everyone had such a good time that it was decided it would happen again the very next year – and the one after that, and so on. It has continued to evolve into the most famous folk festival in the world and it is still held at Theresienwiese (Therese’s meadow) in Munich’s centre.

A festive culture

Germans are famous for a number of things including hard work, engineering ingenuity and punctuality. However, they also love to celebrate and get together with family, friends and the community.

Whether this happens in a small villages or international city, German celebrations are about anything and everything – the seasons, the holy saints, the local produce, legends and famous people, events in history, buildings, machines, animals, vegetables and minerals.

They often have the most unusual names. For example, Bad Dürkheim’s Wurstmarkt {sausage market} is actually the largest wine festival and oldest folk festival in the world! Many German towns also vie for the title of ‘oldest’ fair, but Bremen’s Freimarkt town fair is a strong contender, bringing together locals, regional marketers and visitors since 1035.

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