Every year millions of people around the world wonder why the German tradition known as Oktoberfest is celebrated primarily in the month of September.
The annual celebration is best known for its beer, food and general celebration of German culture.
But given the name, shouldn’t the shindig primarily take place in its namesake month?
The official Oktoberfest website explains.
The first Oktoberfest was held in 1810, with a one-day horse-race held as part of the wedding festivities for Bavarian King Ludwig I and his wife, Theresie. The crowd liked it so much, that it became an annual event, eventually developing into the world of marching bands, sausages and colorfully-dressed beer maidens we know today.
But over the decades, the horse-race disappeared, and the event grew to more than two weeks long — stretching the event into mid-October. Since fall can be quite cold in Bavaria, even snowy, a decision was made to start the festivities earlier so the days could be longer and the weather warmer.
To keep with the tradition of the original festival dates, the last weekend of modern day Oktoberfests always takes place in the month of October.
If the first Sunday in October happens to be the 1st or 2nd of the month, as it did in 2017, the celebration will run until October 3, so it can coincide with the Day of German Unity, or Tag der Deutsche Einheit — an important public holiday first celebrated in 1990 after the Berlin Wall was torn down, commemorating a reunited Germany.
More than 6 million festival goers will sway their beer steins and shout, “Prost!” (that’s “Cheers” in German) during the 16 day food and beer frenzy this year. Oktoberfest will run September 22 through October 7, 2018.
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