The history of the Munich Oktoberfest began with the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen in October 1810. Their marriage was celebrated with a horse race, that became an annual tradition. Late an agricultural festival was added, as well as numerous tents with special beer. Although the horse race is not held any more, still agricultural fair is organized every four year. But the tents with the beer certainly will never disappear!
There are special features of the festival, that makes the Oktoberfest recognizable. First of all, all people who are engaged in participation and running of the festival, wear Bavarian national clothes. Also not any kind of beer is served during the festival. Only the beers that conform to the Reinheitsgebot (the German beer purity law adopted in 1516) and brewed within Munich can be designated as the official Oktoberfest beer. And there are only six breweries, that can produce the beer for the Oktoberfest in Munich.
The Oktoberfest isn’t only about drinking beer, although this is really the most popular part of the festival. There are different events, that you should see. The festival begins with the special procession of the restaurateurs and breweries, heading from downtown of Munich to the festival grounds called the Wiesn. Then at exactly 12:00 the lord mayor opens the first barrel of beer and pronounces the beginning of the festival. This barrel tapping ceremony is awaited by the visitors, and many make bets on the number of strokes the mayor will need to open the barrel.
Costume and riflemen parade is also one of the events that you should see. The first costume parade was held for the first time in 1835 in honor of the silver wedding of King Ludwig I of Bavaria and Princess Therese. In 1895 another parade was organized, and since 1950 it’s become an annual event. This parade is considered to be the largest parade of its kind in the world with 8,000 people in national costumes marching the route.