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September is here and that means Munich, Germany’s Oktoberfest is right around the corner! Oktoberfest 2015 dates are September 19-October 4, so before you go brush up on some interesting facts and traditions surrounding the world’s most famous beerfest.

beer mug

Munich beer only

Oktoberfest is, above all, a celebration of Bavarian traditions, so the only beer you’ll find during the festival is brewed within the city limits of Munich. Only beers that fit this criteria are considered Oktoberfest Beers.

Oktoberfest started as a wedding feast

The first Oktoberfest was held to honour the marriage of Prince Ludwig and Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen, in 1810. Now that’s what we call a wedding party!

Nobody raises their mug until the Mayor says so

Since 1950, the festival has only started after the official gun salute and the mayor shouting O’ zapft is! (“It’s tapped!”) and offering the first mug to the Minister-President of the State of Bavaria. Only after that, can the festival start.

The hairier the hat, the wealthier the wearer

During Oktoberfest, traditional visitors wear Bavarian hats (Tirolerhüte). The more tufts of goat hair on your hat, the wealthier you are considered to be. (Except nowadays the tufts are synthetic and everybody can look as wealthy or as poor as they like.)


Oktoberfest beer has from 0.6 to 1.1% more alcohol and sugar than the average german beer, making it even easier for people to forget all their worries, their hats, their names…

Honey, I might’ve lost the kids

Seems like losing your offspring is a rather common side effect of beer drinking. Fear not, however, there is a lost and found children office on the premises. Other lost and found possessions include wheelchairs, baby carriages, crutches and dogs (!).

You can’t stop beer pouring

In 200 years, Oktoberfest has only been cancelled 24 times. The causes were mostly war and cholera epidemics. On it’s 100th birthday 120,000 liters of beer were poured. That’s about 1500 bathtubs worth!

Beer makes you hungry

image by ricardo m on flickr

Even though 1966 was the year of the Horse, according to the Chinese calendar, it doesn’t look like it was a very happy year for German pigs. That year 903,474 pork sausages were eaten. In order to burn those calories, a person would have to spend 50 years and 4 months exercising.

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