Oktoberfest. What do you know about it? This enthralling 16-day festival is something you should experience at least once in your life, especially if you like to drink and have endless fun and good times with your loved ones. This event has certainly made its mark on the world seeing as it is the planet’s largest fair but what do you really know about the origins of this unmissable celebration? Read our Gran Isla blog post to find out…
We travel all the way back to 12th October 1810 when France-born Crown Prince Ludwig wedded German-born Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen in Munich. There, they invited the city’s citizens to join them in celebrating the happy royal event in the fields in front of the city gates, which later became known as Theresienwiese (“Theresa’s fields”). Horse races were conducted to mark the closing of the event. The year after, as part of continuous celebration, an Agricultural Show was introduced which is considered the oldest of all the traditions celebrated during this fair, one that has since been replaced by carousels, beer stands and, eventually, breweries like those for which Oktoberfest has earned its immense popularity now, in modern times.
So why did this event become so popular in the first place? Was it because it gave the people of Bavaria something to celebrate, a chance to boost their agriculture through the agricultural shows and create a platform on which enterprising brewery landlords could stand? All three of these are valid reasons for continuing the celebration but there may be another that not many people are aware of. Queen Consort Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen was a royal figure who was highly-valued by the citizens of Bavaria as they considered her the embodiment of what a queen was supposed to be: she cared immensely for the less fortunate in that she was involved in a large amount of charitable organisations for widows, orphan children and the poor. Plus, with her husbands numerous affairs, she received a lot of support and sympathy from her people. With this being said, it would be fair to say that for some royalists, this would be another reason to continue celebrating Oktoberfest at this time.
In modern times, the more well-known the fair has become, the more its origins have been forgotten. However, its aim of bringing people together still remains the same which is in fact a positive advantage of its popularity as it is an opportunity for people from all over the world to band together, mix with locals and discover German culture!