Printer Friendly Version

BellaOnline's German Culture Editor

Oktoberfest in Munich – Fun Facts

Aloisius is an angel, "Der Münchner im Himmel", who has taken "leave of absence" from heaven. Preferring to stay in Munich's Hofbräuhaus sitting at his "Stammtisch", rather than live on a cloud playing a harp and singing "Hosianna" all day.

During Oktoberfest he spends his time in the Hofbräu Festzelt, the "party till you drop tent", sitting on a cloud suspended high above the tables from where he can enjoy the scene, and act as a benign influence on those beneath him.

Although, despite being an "Angel", he is often the target of beer soaked clothes thrown by revelers. One of those traditions of which no one seems to know the origins.

Oktoberfest in Munich opens at 12 noon on Saturday when the "Oberbuergermeister", Lord Mayor, of the city taps the first keg of beer and shouts "O'zapft is", Bavarian dialect for "It’s tapped". The embarrassing record for which of Munich's Mayors needed the most "taps" goes to Thomas Wimmer back in 1950; he took 19 strokes to finally "crack it". However as he was also the first Mayor to have to tap the keg that probably had some influence.

While the biggest "blooper" during the opening ceremony was in 1978, when instead of "O'zapft is", meaning "it's tapped" and Bairisch for "Es ist angezapft", the mayor of the time Erich Kiesl shouted out "I'zapt os". And this was before any beer had been consumed.

As a Bavarian tourist highlight with about six million visitors every year, any Oktoberfest reveler should be aware there is a "right way" to hold a Mass, which holds a liter of beer, about 2 pints.

To prevent fingers ending up crushed, bruised or even broken when the inevitable, and frequent, "clashing" of glasses for a "Prost" or during a "sing along" takes place, all four fingers must grip the handle from the outside curling inside. The thumb remains outside and over the top of the handle. At the same time, as no part of a warm hand touches the glass, this helps the beer stay cooler longer.

And don't be surprised if the server takes away your Mass when there is still a little beer remaining. A Muenchener will never empty a glass, however this is not simply a "tradition in Germany" but because the beer will have become warm and stale.

With thousands of guests in each tent those serving the beer have to carry as many Mass as possible at one time, twelve is not unusual, and currently the world record is twenty-three full Mass carried through an Oktoberfest tent for 450 feet.

Probably the most popular song heard throughout Munich's Oktoberfest weeks is the "The Wies'n Anthem" - "Ein Prosit der Gemuetlichkeit"..... "Oanss, zwoa, drei.....Gsuffa!", "One, two, three, drink!". A rough translation is "Cheers, here's to - friendliness, cosiness, happiness" etc.

Despite it not originating in Bavaria but Saxony in the east, and with no connection to Oktoberfest, from 1912 it has been a favorite amongst the "Trinklieder".

For generations Bavarians have called the Oktoberfest "The Wiesn" from "Theresienwiese", Theresa’s Fields, for Princess Theresa whose marriage to Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria brought about the first "Oktoberfest".

At the time a horse race with no connection to beer, it was a genuine October celebration as it took place on October 17, 1810, however the date was later changed because of September's better weather and was held for sixteen days until the first Sunday in October.

After German reunification this was modified, so now when the first Sunday in October falls on the 1st or 2nd the festival continues until the Sunday after German Unity Day, which is October 3. After that it really is "Aus is!"

Two traditional processions pass through the city's streets to the "Wiesn", the "Einzug der Festwirte", Grand entry of the Oktoberfest Landlords and Breweries, on the first day and the "Trachten und Schuetzenumzug", Costume and Riflemen's Procession, on the second day. Both processions led by Munich's city mascot for the last 800 years, Munchener Kindl, who was originally portrayed as one of the monks believed to have been the first inhabitants of Munich.

"Muenchen", the German name of the city, means "Of Monks".

These days "Oktoberfest Muenchener Kindl" is a young woman from the Munich area, her costume based on a monk’s habit and invariably chosen through her connections to a leading Oktoberfest family.

Another young woman also has to be a Muenchener in order to qualify for a post, and she is the annual "Munich Oktoberfest Playmate". This time there is no nepotism involved, and Playboy magazine's choice not only appears in print much as other "Playmates", but also has to fit a Dirndl in all the right places.

"Dirndl", is now used to describe the traditional dress, but originally described a young woman or a girl in Bavarian dialect.

The special Wiesn beer has a high alcohol content and this seems to come as a surprise to many, so the Bavarian Red Cross are kept very busy dealing with "Bierleichen", Beer Corpses, while also supplying paper underwear etc., so no one, who sometime during the day had decided it was fun to decorate "Aloisius the Angel", need leave the Wiesn in a state of undress.

Aloisius who should be "Ein Muenchner im Himmel", but is floating on a cloud in the Hofbräu Festzelt - personal collection....."Carrying 12 Mass on one trip", courtesy 20min.ch.....Munich's City Coat of Arms, a Monk in habit, via de.Wikipedia

For topics in the news Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox ExtensionAnd you can follow German Culture on Facebook Follow Me on Pinterest

German Culture Site @ BellaOnline
View This Article in Regular Layout

Content copyright © 2013 by Francine McKenna-Klein. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Francine McKenna-Klein. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Francine McKenna-Klein for details.

| About BellaOnline | Privacy Policy | Advertising | Become an Editor |
Website copyright © 2016 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.

BellaOnline Editor