Please sign in to post.

210th Anniversary of the wedding that inspired Oktoberfest

It was on 12 October 1810 that Ludwig and Therese invited the townspeople of Munich to their wedding, sparking the tradition of Oktoberfest. Here's what the almanac says about it:

"The first Oktoberfest had its origins in Munich on this date in 1810. The occasion was a royal wedding: Ludwig, Crown Prince of Bavaria, was marrying Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen, and the royal couple wanted to invite all of Munich to their wedding reception. They threw a parade and a huge party in the field outside the city gates, culminating in a horse race. The citizens of Munich had such a good time that they decided to repeat the horse races at the same time the following year.

On the first anniversary of the royal wedding, the organizers added an agricultural show, to bring attention to the Bavarian farming industry. The horse races are no longer held, but the agricultural show remains a big part of Oktoberfest in Bavaria. Over the years, attractions have been added to the celebration: in 1818, organizers brought in a carousel and a couple of swings. They also set up a few modest beer stands. By the end of the century, the little stands had been replaced by huge beer tents and halls, sponsored by German breweries, and the carousel had grown into a full-fledged fair. In 1885, the beer tents were lit with electric lights for the first time.

The Oktoberfest was canceled on a few notable occasions during the 19th century — usually because of war or disease. In 1933, the swastika replaced the flag of Bavaria, and the festival was canceled for the duration of World War II. And in 1980, a bomb planted in a trash can by a right-wing extremist killed 13 people and wounded more than 200. And, unsurprisingly, it has been canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic."
The official website, English version, is here:
https://www.oktoberfest.de/en?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oktoberfest?

Posted by
1814 posts

Let's allow ourselves a moment of pedantry: While the wedding was on October 12th, the horse race, which established the tradition of the Oktoberfest, did not take place until October 17th. Exact details can be found in the Historical Encyclopedia of Bavaria, published by the Bavarian State Library Munich (German only), and a lot of historical documents can be found at bavarikon, the site of the Bavarian Ministry of Culture (available in English).

Posted by
1958 posts

Thanks for your comment - as always with history, the Germans are in the details.

Posted by
7705 posts

A fun bit of history — which I didn’t know! Thanks for sharing, Avi.

Posted by
8850 posts

While the wedding was on October 12th, the horse race, which established the tradition of the Oktoberfest, did not take place until October 17th

It took that long for everyone to sober up, to organize the race and the riders could stay on their horse? :-)

Posted by
1814 posts

Hahaha, from today's perspective the delay is certainly strange. But one must remember that that was the first "Royal Wedding" in the Kingdom of Bavaria (recently founded by Napoleon's grace), and thus an event of international importance. And the court did not want to see that disturbed by an accumulation of subjects some of whom were serfs until recently. Moreover, the date was in the middle of the Napoleonic wars, so that most of those Bavarian subjects weren't in their best shape, at least not such that they could cause much admiration among the international nobility.

Posted by
25 posts

Pre-pandemic, we typically visit Munich a couple times a year, but haven't been to Oktoberfest since the '70's. We attend many local Oktoberfests and German fests and even wear tracht - lederhosen and dirndl. For those who've attended Oktoberfest, how many days would you suggest for a couple of beer drinking, high energy seniors?