Oktoberfest Is Back After A Two-Year Hiatus

It is time to enjoy quality German pints, and soak in traditional Bavarian culture at the world's largest beer festival
The world's largest beer festival is back. Credit Oktoberfest/official website
The world's largest beer festival is back. Credit Oktoberfest/official website

A symbol of Bavarian culture since 1810, the Oktoberfest originates in Germany but is celebrated across the globe. After a two-year pause, it is time to once again devour delicious brezen (pretzels), schweinebraten (roast pork), w&uumlrstl (sausages) and wash it all down with an endless supply of beer. Munich is the epicentre of the nearly two-week long festival. More than six million tourists are expected to attend Oktoberfest in Germany this year. The approximately two-week-long festival typically generates nearly 1.3 billion euros for the country's economy. The festival also creates employment, and tourism sees a massive boom during this period. And, get this - estimates say that over 7 million litres of beer is served. 

Here's a quick guide to the festival.

A 200-Year-Old History

The covid-induced pandemic was not the only time the festival was cancelled. It was called off at least 26 times because of the two World Wars, and twice during Germany's cholera outbreaks. 

A Green Festival

Not many know this but Munich outlawed the use of disposable tableware in the early 1990s, which reduced trash by over 90%. And Oktoberfest has been one of the greenest fests in Europe. In fact, Oktoberfest has even received the Environmental Oscar. Since 2000, all festival public spaces have been powered entirely by renewable resources. Most of the independent vendors do the same today. The cuisine offered here is all local and organic. Many of the vendors source their ingredients from surrounding bio-farms.

Oktoberfest in September

The first Oktoberfest was held in 1810. It started as a celebration in honour of the wedding between Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. Over the years, the festivities were repeated in various forms - agricultural fairs were added, and food and drink booths came up. The event was also moved up to September, allowing for better weather conditions. 

Bearing The High Costs Of Brewing Beer

They say if you are drinking beer, drink it like the Germans. However, brewers worldwide bear rising costs (courtesy inflation) as the price of one mug of beer is now nearly 15% higher than in 2019. Because of the Russian invasion and rising prices in a post-pandemic world, brewing beer has become an expensive business. Raw ingredients such as hops, barley, and packaging material have seen a steep hike in price.

The Oktoberfest Dress

The dirndl and lederhosen are traditional attires worn by men and women at the fest. The former has roots in southern Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, and the Alpine regions of Italy. Historically, the dirndl was designed to be a dress for someone working in the fields. With time, it became a significant costume worn by women in cultural events such as Oktoberfest. Lederhosen, which translates to 'leather breeches', are culottes made out of leather. Originally, lederhosen was made for country and mountainside peasants and eventually forayed into upper-class Germans' homes.

A Typical Oktoberfest Feast

This fest is not just about beer. If you want to explore authentic German food, there is no reason you should skip the fun. A range of German dishes can be sampled at the Oktoberfest. From crispy potato pancakes or kartoffelpuffer, and beer cheese dip or obatzda, to fried meat patties or frikadellen, and the Oktoberfest brathendl (half roast chicken (known as). And, of course, the famed beer brats &ndash German bratwurst simmered in a malty beer.

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