In recent years, there is growing popularity for Oktoberfest in Singapore. Around this time in early October, more bars and eateries are decorating up in the Oktoberfest setting. However, have you ever wonder what a real Oktoberfest is like? The real Oktoberfest in Munich is more than just beer and German food. It is the world's largest annual funfair, gathering millions of people over 16 days.
A little background
Oktoberfest is held on a very big field called Theresienwiese, in Munich center. It is a 16 days annual event, starting from late September to the first weekend of October. In 1810, the people in Munich were welcomed to join the festivities in celebration of a royal wedding. The horse races on the last day were marked as the closure of this celebration. As the horse races continued on the following years after 1810, it gave rise to this annual gathering of Oktoberfest.
1. Opening Parade
On the first morning each year, there is grand entry parade of the Oktoberfest's landlords and breweries. These pictures that my friend and I had taken were not on the grand parade itself. Similarly during the parade, the landlords and breweries will showcase their well decorated horse-carriage, like what it is shown in my pictures.
2. Traditional Bavaria Costume
Picture taken from wired.com
Most German would dressed up in their traditional Bavaria (state-name) costume for Oktoberfest. The female will wear a dress called Drindl while the male will wear a Bavaria trachten shirt (white or checkered) with Lederhosen (leather-shorts). An outfit like this would probably cost nearly 150 Euros. If a female make a ribbon knot on the left at the waist, it means that she is single or unmarried. A ribbon knot on the right represents that the female is taken or married.
3. Beer Tents
There are more than 20 large and small beer tents set-up by individual breweries, Each tent has its own specialties and designs. The large tents in Oktoberfest are really huge, probably the largest I have seen so far. Each large tent can host thousands of people.
4. Only qualified beers are served
Only beers that are brewed within Munich and conformed with the German Beer Purity Laws (Reinheitsgebot) can be served in Oktoberfest. Each mug sold in the tent is about 1 litre. I had one with Lemonade and I swear that was the best beer I ever tasted. I would say the bitter taste is very minimal but the fragrance was at its optimum. These beer are served directly from the beer barrel. Besides beer, they also have other alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks
5. German food
One shall not simply leave the tent without having the German traditional food. The ones in the picture are roasted duck with stewed red cabbage and potato dumpling, or potato salad, cold cuts and roasted chicken with potato salad. Other common ones are big-ass Pretzel and white sausages.
6. Shake along with the music
At the middle of the tent, there is always a band playing and singing some traditional and current song on the raised platform. As the adrenaline starts kicking in the blood with the aid of alcohol, people start dancing and shaking together. The whole place was very vibrant.
This year, my friend managed to catch Conchita Wurst performing on the stage in one of the tent. If you wonder who is Conchita Wurst (second from the right), he is an Austrian who won Eurovision (Europe singing competition). Look at how interest he looks, wearing a dress with a beard. By the way, the direct translation of Wurst is sausage. I can't deny that I got hooked by his singing in Euro-vision.
7. Amusement rides
Oktoberfest is definitely a heaven for adults. Besides beer, food and music, they also have all sorts of amusement rides. In the picture below, one has to stand and maintain the balance on the mat where it will move up along the slide at quite a fast speed. My friend and I had a great time looking and laughing at how people fell off from the mat. By the way, this ride is not as dangerous as what you may be thinking.
8. Street food
Besides those that you see on these pictures, they also had fish or spiced raw minced meat (yes, raw :/) , roasted almonds and candied apples like the one we see in Disneyland.
Lebkuchenherz is a German ginger bread in heart shaped. This is a very common souvenir and decoration which can last for years. Besides Oktoberfest, it can be found in other small festivals.
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