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5 Things You Didn't Know About Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest is more than just a celebration where you don dirndls and munch on <em>bretzels</em>.
09/19/2014 03:02pm ET | Updated November 19, 2014
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When fall arrives, we default to a few annual milestones. It is the return of heading back to school, tailgating, and of course, incredible fall food. But for some, fall isn't just a celebration for leaf peepers. The end of summer marks the beginning of another time-honored tradition folks look forward to all year: Oktoberfest.

Whether you are of German descent or just love the heck out of seasonal beer, when Oktoberfest rolls around you're likely ready to have fun. Oktoberfest is more than just a celebration where you don dirndls and munch on bretzels. It is actually the beginning of a huge festival that really celebrates the cultural traditions of the German (particularly, Bavarian) people.

Oktoberfest began as a wedding celebration and horse racing festival that slowly grew over time, and today seems to be growing with more and more fervor. As many as five to seven million people attend this festival every year in Munich from all over the world; there are amusements, agricultural attractions, and of course, a ton of food and beer. Folks eat lots of of delicious, authentic roasted pork, piles of wurst, and of course schnitzel, all while enjoying a beer from one of Munich's six major breweries.

Whether you are traveling to Munich this year to celebrate in a tent or are hosting an Oktoberfest party in your backyard, there are a few quirky historical facts worth learning. So "Prost!" und "Zum Wohl!" Here are some fun facts for you to toast to at your Oktoberfest celebration.

A Non Alcoholic Event
Believe it or not, it wasn’t always a brewfest. In the beginning days of the festival (which included an agricultural show and other amusements) beer was only sold and enjoyed outside of the venue. Beer did become popular at the event quite early on, however; long ago, beer was safer to drink than water! Photo Credit: © Flickr / LenDog64Click Here to See More Things You Didn’t Know About Oktoberfest
The Beer
When beer was finally allowed to be served and enjoyed at the festival, a lager or Märzenbier brewed by Munich breweries became the beverage of choice for the festival. It is served in the signature “Maß” glass mug, which holds up to one liter (almost 40 ounces) of beer. Oktoberfest dictates that all the draftsserved must originate from one of Munich's six main breweries — Augustiner, Hofbräu Münchner, Hacker-Pschorr, Paulaner, Löwenbräu, or Spaten-Franziskaner. Photo Credit: © Flickr / Christian Benseler
The Keg Tap
Each year in Munich the first keg is tapped by the mayor, who then declares "O`zapft is!" ("It's tapped!"). No one is allow to drink until this happens. Photo Credit: © Flickr / Rich AndersonClick Here to See More Things You Didn’t Know About Oktoberfest
It Is All About the Love
During the fest,"Lebkuchen" hearts, or gingerbread hearts, are hanging everywhere. These large iced cookies are inscribed with proclamations of love for your sweetheart, or schatz. Photo Credit: © Flickr / Flowizm…
Beer Corpses
Every year, people overestimate their drinking capabilities. This results with the Theresienwiese being littered with what the Germans call “Bierleichen” or “beer corpses,” folks who have passed out from drinking too heavily. Click Here to See More Things You Didn’t Know About OktoberfestPhoto Credit: © Flickr / davidpc_


-Lauren Gordon, The Daily Meal