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Ozapft is! Oktoberfest 2014 has begun! Posted by on Sep 20, 2014 in Culture, Current Events, History, Traditions

Today marks the start of the annual Oktoberfest in München!

Here are a few facts about the world’s largest and most popular beer festival.

Oktoberfest in Munich: inside the tent

Photo by romanboed on Flickr.com on CC BY 2.0


A brief history of Oktoberfest

  • Oktoberfest began in 1810 – a whopping 204 years ago – when King Ludwig I married Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen, and invited all of the residents of München to the wedding celebrations, which consisted of Pferdrennen – horse-racing! So the first ever Oktoberfest was, in fact, a bit like Ascot. It’s strange to think that now!
  • Following the wedding, this Pferdrennen became an annual event, but year after year more things were added to the festival, such as refreshment stalls and amusements. This is how it grew into the massive festival it is today.
  • The fields the early Oktoberfest was held in were named ‘Theresienwiese’ (‘Therese’s fields’) after the Princess. This has since been shortened to just ‘Wiesn’, which is why it is referred to as ‘Wiesn’ by the locals, as well as ‘Oktoberfest’! You can get to the Oktoberfest celebrations by getting off at the Theresienwiese U-Bahn stop.
  • Why is Oktoberfest in September, you might wonder? Well, Oktoberfest originally began in Oktober, but many people requested to have it moved to September because of the heavy rainfall München gets in Oktober. Comparatively, September is a much nicer month there, weather-wise. Oktoberfest was moved to September in 1878, but kept its name.
  • Today, Oktoberfest is one of the largest, most popular festivals in the world. Its estimated value to the München economy is a whopping 1, 100, 000, 000 Euros!

Photo by wolfworld on Flickr.com under CC BY 2.0

So, what’s new at Oktoberfest 2014?

If you’re a regular to the festival, here are some things that are new this year:

Instead of the Kalbskuchl on Wirtsbundenstraße 50, there’s the Kalbsbraterei, whose aim is to serve gourmet food. Their speciality is veal.

Something for the veggies: Anja Kraus’ Wurstbraterei (Schaustellerstraße 50) will serve soya Würstchen (sausages) for the first time ever!

A new tent: The Marstall, the successor to the Hippodrom. It has a horse theme and seats 3,500, with a garden for 900 people.

There are portable mobile phone chargers available to buy. They can be found at the two official Oktoberfest merchandise stalls, and they feature the Oktoberfest logo.


Oktoberfest food being prepared. Photo by 5chw4r7z on Flickr.com under CC BY-SA 2.0

To finish, some Oktoberfest vocabulary!

Because no post would be complete without some vocabulary! Here are a few words and phrases you might hear at Oktoberfest:

OANS, ZWOA, GSUFFA! – “One, two, chug!” As well as a popular phrase amongst drinkers, you will hear this in some songs, too!

BIERLEICHEN – A term for the paralytically drunk. Literally means ‘beer corpses’.

SCHUHPLATTLER TANZ  – A traditional Bavarian dance performed at Oktoberfest. Watch the video to see what it looks like.

OZAPFT IS! – “It’s tapped!” This is spoken by the Mayor as he taps the first keg of beer to open the Oktoberfest! That’s exactly what mayor Dieter Reiter did earlier today!

PROST! – “Cheers!” Say this as you clink glasses with each other!

EIN MAß BIER, BITTE – “A litre of beer, please”. A very simple but important phrase. If you say nothing else at Oktoberfest, say this. At least you’ll get your beer. 😉

If you’d like more Bavarian vocabulary and information, please see my other Bavarian-themed posts here, here and here! And if you want more still, click here for the official Wiesn Dictionary!

To everyone who’s there or going this year, ich wünsche euch viel, viel Spaß! Trink ein Bier für mich!



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About the Author: Constanze

Servus! I'm Constanze and I live in the UK. I'm half English and half German, and love writing about German language and culture. I also work as a group fitness instructor.


  1. Jenna:

    A wonderful read! The first photo in your post is the tent that I experienced the most of Oktoberfest in while in Munich! It was beautiful! 😀 For any nubies out there, here’s some tips I put together: http://giveforgranted.com/2014/06/how-to-last-a-whole-day-at-oktoberfest/

    • Constanze:

      @Jenna Thanks for sharing! It’s good to spread the Oktoberfest love!