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Beer mugs and brass bands

It has long been since just the residents of Bavaria counted the days until September: what began as a wedding celebration has grown into the famous Oktoberfest, the world’s largest beer festival, complete with one-litre beer mugs, Bavarian oompah-pah music and lederhosen.

A procession of horse-drawn carriages laden with beer kegs announces the start of the annual beer festival at the end of September. Lords and brewers proudly accompany the procession to their beer tents on the Theresienwiese. Dressed in lederhosen, the mayor of Munich kicks off the festival by serving the first beer. After his promising remark of “O’ Zapft is!”, which roughly translates as “the keg is open”, the endless stream of beer starts to flow.

Five special party tents

Beer is the beverage of choice in the 14 party tents on Theresienwiese, in the centre of Munich. When you order a beer, you will be served a one-litre mug, filled to the brim. Nevertheless, the tents do differ from each other. The Schottenhammel tent is the most traditional tent where students and artists gather. The Paulanerbräu tent attracts a slightly older crowd and features lovely decorations. At the Winzerer Fähndl archer’s guild, freshly hunted game is as important as the beer. The best beer is served in the Augustiner Festhalle: brewed by Munich’s oldest brewery, the beer is served from oak kegs. You will not find any beer or benches in the Kufflers tent: here guests sit on wooden seats and sip wine, cider and champagne – just like in a wine garden.

One of the party tents
Traditional Oktoberfest snacks

Party etiquette

The Oktoberfest evolved from the wedding celebration of Bavarian King Ludwig and Princess Therese in 1810. These days, the event begins in September as the weather is a little bit milder. The celebration is filled with traditions. The golden Oktoberfest beer, served in a ‘Maß’ or a one-litre mug, is accompanied by snacks such as pretzels and 'Hendl', roasted chicken. In the party tents, brass bands play Bavarian music.

Photo credits

  • One of the party tents: Pavel L. Photo and Video, Shutterstock