Every fall, German culture comes crashing into a pub near you as people gather round and celebrate Oktoberfest. The celebration is three weeks of beer, bratwurst and lederhosen. But where did all that start, and why is Oktoberfest celebrated in September?
Here are 7 fun facts about Oktoberfest.
Oktoberfest Started off as a Marriage Celebration
What we sometimes mistake as just a beer-and-pretzel festival is actually an anniversary party for the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig and his wife, Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen.
On October 12, 1810, the two were married, but instead of toasting to the couple with a German beer, the wedding party celebrated with horse races. Nine years later, beer became the central theme of the festival.
Oktoberfest is in September Because October’s Too Cold
The very first Oktoberfest was actually held in October of 1810, but after nine years of having to endure a chilly festival season, Oktoberfest was moved up a few weeks so festival-goers could enjoy the last bit of warm weather. However, Oktoberfest was not renamed Septemberfest.
Pretzels and Schnitzel Aren’t the Most Popular Foods in Germany
It’s not the pretzels, the schnitzel or the wurstl that has everyone begging for seconds — it’s the roasted chicken! On average, the Oktoberfest celebrations in Munich see more than 480,000 roast chickens eaten during the three-week bash.
You Need the Mayor’s Permission to Drink
To kick off the celebration, the mayor of Munich inserts the tap into a ceremonial beer keg and yells, “It’s tapped!” Once the barrel is tapped and ready to go, 12 gunshots are fired into the air, indicating that all of the Oktoberfest tents are officially allowed to sell beer.
A Special Beer is Brewed for Oktoberfest
If you’re going to celebrate Oktoberfest the right way, you have to serve the right kind of beer. Oktoberfestbier is specially brewed every year for the Munich celebration.
Different Aspects of Oktoberfest Are Each Housed in Tents
There are so many different parts of Oktoberfest: there’s the beer, the pretzels, the roasted chicken, the dancing, the wurstl, the pork knuckles, and each of these traditions has their own section of tents. In fact, there are 14 tents in the Munich celebration that are designated specifically for beer. The largest of the beer tents has enough seats for 11,000 people!
Cincinnati is Home to America’s Biggest Oktoberfest Party
Munich is obviously the best place to celebrate Oktoberfest, but if you’re more interested in domestic flights as opposed to international ones, you can head to Ohio and celebrate. Their celebration lasts only three days instead of the full 16 days that the festival in Germany lasts.
At Cheddar’s, we’ve got beer on tap and slow-roasted BBQ chicken on the menu all year long! Come visit us at your local Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen and enjoy a bit of goodness this Oktoberfest.