Oktoberfest 2009: What is Oktoberfest?
Oktoberfest 2009 begins on September 19. So, what is Oktoberfest? Oktoberfest is a 16-day festival leading up to the first Sunday in October, so, yeah, it actually starts in September. At noon on September 19, there will be a twelve-gun salute and the first keg will be tapped, heralded by the cry of "O'zapft is!"( "It's tapped!") Incidentally, Oktoberfest is the reason that we all picture Germans running around in leiderhosen: the traditional Bavarian garb, not worn daily, obviously, came to characterize an entire country. 2009 is the 176th Oktoberfest, which has grown into the largest fair in the world.
Oktoberfest began in München (Münich) as a marriage celebration for Crown Prince Ludwig and his blushing bride, Therese of Saxe-Hildburghause in 1810. The Bavarian holiday soon became an institution, and has spread all over the world. For example, Oktoberfest Cincinnati is celebrated as "Oktoberfest Zinzinnatti USA". Mt. Angel Oktoberfest, in Oregon, opens today.
In the 21st Century, Oktoberfest has an official website, as well as an inevitable iPhone app, which updates your Facebook status with how many beers you drank. This is not necessarily good if your parents/co-workers are Facebook friends.
Don't drink too much, though, or you'll end up in the gutter, and people will call you a "bierleiche" ("beer corpse"). That's not cool.
Some quick stats:
Oktoberfest numbers (2007)
- Area: 103.79 acres (0.42 km²)
- Seats in the festival halls: ca. 100,000
- Visitors: 6.2 million
- Beer: appr. 6,940,600 litres (126,900 litres non-alcoholic)
- Wine: 79,624 litres
- Sparkling wine: 32,047 litres
- Coffee, tea: 222,725 litres
- Water, lemonade: 909,765 ½ litres
- Chicken: 521,872 units
- Pork sausages: 142,253 pairs
- Fish: 38,650 kg
- Pork knuckles: 58,446 units
- Oxen: 104 units
What's a "unit" of oxen? An ox, or a part thereof?
If you're participating in Oktoberfest, in Münich or elsewhere, we want to see your photos and video, and we want to hear your story.