Tuesday, September 25, 2012

9 Fun Facts About Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest is is one of the most famous festivals in the world, a celebration of Bavarian food, drink and culture. Decked out in dirndls and lederhosen, millions make the pilgrimage to Munich to enjoy two weeks of fun. Here are nine fun facts about Oktoberfest that you may not have known:

It all started because of a wedding. The first Oktoberfest was held in 1810, to celebrate the marriage of the Bavarian King Ludwig I to Maria Theresia of Saxonia.

Oktoberfest is held in September. The festival starts in late September, and always includes the first Sunday in October.

More than half a million chickens are consumed each year at the festival. Also 120,000 paris of pork sausage, 40,000kg of fish, 70,000 pork knuckles, and the equivalent of 119 oxen.

There are 24 tents at Oktoberfest, which range in size from 60 to over 10,000 people. They tend to have different atmospheres, ranging from relaxed and sedate to raucous and rowdy.

"Prost!" is the traditional toast at Oktoberfest, translating to 'to your health'.

The beer is stronger than you think. While most American beers range 3-4% alcohol, Oktoberfest brews have a minimum of 6% and often higher. This leads to the appearance of 'Bierleichen' (beer corpses) of those passed out from overindulgence.

Unbelievably, beer was not available at the first Oktoberfest. Patrons had to purchase outside the venue. Fast forward to today, when roughly 7 million litres are sold at the festival each year!

72% of the 6.5 million annual visitors are German.

Oktoberfest celebrations are held in cities worldwide. Popular events are held in Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), Cape Town (South Africa), Blumenau (Brazil), Hong Kong, and Villa General Belgrano (Argentina). The largest is held in Cincinnati, Ohio, and attracts roughly 500,000 people each year.

(Image from Georgey Boy.)

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