Once again it is the tenth month of the year—October. In America this month is most associated with its final day—Halloween, the scariest day of the year! Yet October is even more famous in Germany for Oktoberfest, a huge celebration of German culture that has extended to other countries (including the United States) that have a substantial population of Germans.
The official Oktoberfest—which is held annually in Munich—has the distinction of being the world’s largest fair. It runs for sixteen (sometimes seventeen) days and it is estimated that about six million people attend the event each year. The first Oktoberfest was held in 1810 when Crown Prince Ludwig (who later became King Ludwig) married Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. To celebrate the marriage, all the citizens of Munich were invited to festivities around the city in honor of the royals. The 1810 event was so successful that it became a tradition that is still beloved today.
Presently, visitors to Oktoberfest can expect to be well fed. For adult attendees the event is famous for its beer but the traditional foods on display can be enjoyed by all ages. These foods include roast pork called “schweinebraten,” chicken called “hendl,” ham hock known as “schweinshaxe” and “Wurstl” which are sausages (various flavors are available). Grilled fish on a stick is also an option (it is called “steckerlfisch”) as are pretzels, potato dumplings, red cabbage and cheese noodles.
Although the most famous and traditional Oktoberfest takes place in Munich, there are many smaller events dedicated to the day throughout the world. Almost all of these events include traditional German food and music and they are a fun and fantastic way to experience another culture and have a memorable day trip.