While working out, I usually watch music festival after movies or concert videos. Oh, what I would give to be in that sea of people again? Dancing to my favorite songs and feeling all that energy from the crowd.
Aside from the popular electronic music and pop music festivals, there are also folk music festivals, harvest festivals, and beer festivals. The most popular is Oktoberfest.
The biggest folk, harvest, and beer festival in the world is Oktoberfest. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. You can probably already taste the beer and pretzels!
Millions of people flock to Bavaria, Germany to celebrate Oktoberfest from mid-September to October every year. The beloved tradition has been replicated all over the world. Today it is a truly global festival that is recognized by almost everyone.
Here’s everything you need to know about Oktoberfest – what it is, what to expect, what to wear, how to get there and of course
What is Oktoberfest?
The festival is a colorful celebration of traditional Bavarian music and food while donning iconic Bavarian attire – lederhosen for men and dirndl for women. Of course, the celebration would not be complete without the world-famous Oktoberfest or Marzen Lager beer.
Alcohol consumption is a huge part of Oktoberfest. Since 1950, it has always opened with the mayor of Munich tapping the first keg and giving it to the Prime Minister. Today, more than 1 million gallons of beer consumed every year during Oktoberfest.
How did Oktoberfest start?
Oktoberfest as we know it started more than 200 years ago in honor of a royal wedding. The worldwide phenomenon started in 1810 in honor of the marriage of the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. Their union was celebrated with multiple days of feasting, drinking, and horse races. The original festivities took place from October 12 to October 17, 1810.
The Bavarian royalty invited the citizens of Munich to attend their celebration held on the fields in front of the city gates. These fields were named Theresienwiese, Therese’s fields in honor of Princess Therese. Later on, this was shortened to “Wies’n” which is how they are referred to until today.
The two-week festivity culminated with horse races attended by the Royal family. This was celebrated throughout all of Bavaria in various forms. The celebration and horse races were so popular that the citizens decided to repeat the festivities the following year. This gave rise to Oktoberfest, the annual celebration that is well-known and loved as the perfect excuse to drink beer.
When is Oktoberfest?
Obviously, if the event is called Oktoberfest, you’d think it’s in October right? Wrong. Oktoberfest is actually celebrated in September. It is celebrated from September 17 until October 3. It usually lasts for 16 days, with the last day being the first Sunday in October.
While the original dates were October 12 to 17, the celebration was moved up to September to take advantage of better weather conditions. The warmer September nights were nicer for outdoor festivities. It also allowed guests to enjoy lovely strolls in the city gardens without being too cold.
What do you wear during Oktoberfest?
Oktoberfest is hundreds of years old yet not much has changed in terms of music, food and attire. As a folk festival, it’s different from modern music festivals as people wear traditional Bavarian attire.
Women wear dirndls which are three-piece outfits that include a white blouse, skirt and apron. These are usually sold together and easily available online.
Tradition has it that tying the apron on the left side signifies being single, tying it on the right side signifies being taken and tying it front means you’re a virgin. It’s considered disrespectful to wear a really skimpy dirndl so make sure the skirt reaches at least knee-length!
Men wear lederhosen which are knee-length leather shorts and suspenders. They are paired with, either a white button down, or checkered button down shirt. Just like dirndls, these are easily available online.
What shoes do you wear to Oktoberfest?
Traditionally, men wear lederhosen shoes to go with their attire. These are paired with knee-high socks and complete the outfit. For women, any closed toe shoes or boots can be worn.
It’s recommended to wear closed toe shoes during Oktoberfest as there could be liquid or glass on the ground. If you wear sandals or open flats, you could get pretty uncomfortable.
You’ll be on your feet a lot so comfort really matters! Unlike the traditional attire, most festival goers opt for modern footwear. Classic white sneakers or waterproof ankle booties are among the best options as they match well and will keep your feet comfy and dry. These are perfect for Oktoberfest as you might get some beer splashed onto you or there might be broken glass on the ground.
However, make sure to bring a pair of flip flops to change into after all that time standing up. Your feet will need to breathe after being constricted for such a long time.
Don’t Forget Your Flip Flops!
Do not forget to pack flip flops for your Oktoberfest trip! They’re the perfect item to take along to change your footwear during the long day standing up and walking around the festival grounds. If you get tired from being on your feet (and you can bet you will!) taking off your shoes, changing into flip flops, and wiggling your toes will do wonders.
After your festival experience comes to an end, you’ll want to change into flip flops so your feet can breathe. If you’re staying in a hostel, it can be a lot of fun, but you’ll also need flip flops to wear to the shower.
As flip flops are so light, packing them in your suitcase, backpack or even the bag you carry around the festival grounds isn’t a problem.
What are you waiting for? If you’re tired of hiding out at home, get ready and plan that next big festival trip. Buying a new pair of festival flip flops is a great start. You can use them around the house or when you go on errands while associating them with your upcoming festival trip.
This will give you something exciting to spice up your routine! It would also help pump you up and keep looking forward to your trip.
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