Oktoberfest date: Why is Berlin Oktoberfest today – when it's not October yet?


Oktoberfest is the world’s largest Volksfest which is a beer festival and travelling funfair. It is held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany and involves a 16 to 18 day long festival which begins in late September and typically concludes on the first weekend in October. More than six million people around the world celebrate around the world. But why does this longstanding festival begins in September rather than October as its name would suggest?

This year Oktoberfest 2019 will be held from September 21 to October 6.

The festival is a symbol of celebrating Bavarian heritage and saw an estimated 7.7 million litres of beer consumed in 2013.

In 1999, 6.5million people attended with around 72 percent of those hailing from Bavaria, while 15 percent came from abroad.

The Oktoberfest festival is typically associated with images of barmaids with arms full of foam-topped beers, men in lederhosen and bratwurst sizzling away on grills.

But on top of that, visitors enjoy amusement rides, side stalls and games, as well as consuming traditional foods.

The origins of Oktoberfest are ambiguous, but some people believe it first began in 1810 with the marriage of the future King Ludwig I of Bavaria to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen.

On this date citizens of Munich were invited to engage in festivities held in the fields outside the city gates to celebrate the happy union.

However, others believe the festival began from plans drawn by sergeant Franz Baumgartner to hold horse races and a festival for a spectacle near the city of Munich.

The festival was cancelled in 1813 because of the Napoleonic Wars, but after that time, the festival grew massively.

In 1819 it was decided Oktoberfest would become an annual event.

Years later Oktoberfest was lengthened and the date was pushed forward so the festival would begin in September.

This was undertaken because the days are longer and warmer at the end of September.

Where can you celebrate Oktoberfest in the UK?

There are Oktoberfest celebrations around the country in most major towns and cities from Devon to Bristol to Maidstone and Cambridge.

But the largest Oktoberfest celebrations will be in London, Manchester and Edinburgh.

London is a prime spot for celebration of Oktoberfest and this year anyone wishing to join the festivities can visit Canary Wharf during the first two weekends of October or a city centre part happening on November 15 and 16.

There is also a Halloween Oktoberfest special event held at Olympia London in West Kensington from October 24 to 26.

Manchester is also hosting an Oktoberfest event at the Yards of Mayfield including a large beer tent and live music from October 16 to 20.

Oktoberfest in Edinburgh is due to take place from October 30 to November 3 at West Princes Street Gardens.


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