“Word Echoes from SANZ”: OKTOBER FUNFAIR
Written by Helewise Arends on October 5, 2017
The world’s largest beer festival, celebrated in all cities of the world, started as the
VOLKSFEST, is held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany.
It is a 16 – 18 day folk festival in Munich, running from mid or late September
to the first weekend in October.
The first Oktoberfest was held in honor of the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig’s marriage on
12 October 1810 to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen .
The crowds were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields
in front of the city gates to celebrate the royal event.
In Germany it is called the “Wiesn”, named by the locals after the fairgrounds,
Theresa’s meadows (Theresienwiese).
The Oktoberfest has spread to being celebrated in cities across the world,
modeled after the original Munich event.
During the event, large quantities of beer are consumed, for example,
7.7 million litres were served in 2013.
There is also a wide variety of traditional foods – such as Bavarian pretzels, bratwurst, schnitzels
& numerous attractions, such as amusement rides, side-stalls & games.
Everyone is encouraged to wear traditional Bavarian attire,
with “Lederhosen & Dirndl” being the order of the day.
What makes this BEER festival so special?
The traditional beer (or Festbier) at the festival is brewed according to the
Reinheitsgebot (BAVARIAN PURITY LAW) ,
introduced and adopted in Bavaria in 1516,
which restricts and regulates the ingredients that is used in German
beer production to ensure a purer, more perfect product.
In keeping with the celebration of Bavarian culture, there are usually lots of traditional games,
with the most prominent being “Stamm-sägen” (Log-Sawing).
Other games include “Bierstemmen” (Beer-Lifting), “Hau den Lukas” (High Striker),
Nageln, Beer Pong and Catty shooting.
Brass & folk music are most commonly played at the festival,
usually by an Oompah band and
is accompanied with the traditional “Schuhplatter” dancing.
In this dance, the performers stomp, clap and strike the soles of shoes (Schuhe),
thighs and knees with their hands held flat(platt).
“The Chicken dance” is accompanied by an oom-pah-pah song named
“Der Ententanz” (“Dance Little Bird”).
The Oktoberfest is declared officially open with “Opening of the Keg”
and the exclamation: “O’ zapft is!” (“It’s tapped!”).
If you want a #TasteofMunich right on your doorstep, find out where these local
festivities are happening and all that’s left for me to say:
“Eins, Zwei, Drei, Vier – Lift Your Stein and DRINK YOUR BEER…!”