Every year, the Munich Oktoberfest opens on the first Saturday with the ceremonial entry of the Wiesnwirte and the traditional tapping of the barrel. Since takes place the next day the traditional costume parade, the world's largest of its kind.
Since the year 1887, the Oktoberfest in Bavaria, Germany, literally accompanied by kettledrums and trumpets, starts with the entry of the Wiesnwirte. This tradition was founded by the Oktoberfest innkeeper Hans Steyrer, who marched from his inn on Tegernseer Landstraße to the Theresienwiese for the first time in the aforementioned 1887 year with his entire staff and a huge load of beer.
Every year more and more imitators were found and in 1935 it was the first time that really all innkeepers, who were represented at the Wiesn, moved in a closed procession to the Oktoberfest - the traditional procession of the Wiesn innkeepers was born, which since then is also led every year by the Münchner Kindl.
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PICTURES: Entry of the Wiesnwirte at the Oktoberfest
In 1950, the mayor of Munich was added to the parade, taking his place in the line of floats just behind the Münchner Kindl. Behind him follow to this day the innkeepers on their elaborately decorated horse-drawn carriages and floats, whose own bands accompany the exuberant spectacle.
Traditional tapping of the barrel
Punctually at 12:00 noon, the mayor of Munich taps the first beer keg, which has always been in the "tent of youth", the Shottenhamel. As soon as the Lord Mayor has shouted "O'zapft is!", the Oktoberfest is officially opened and the celebrations can begin. So that the other Wiesnwirte also learn of the tapping, 12 firecracker shots are fired shortly after the Lord Mayor's proclamation. Traditionally, the Bavarian Prime Minister is served the first Oktoberfest beer of the year. After that, the annual supporting program with dancing, music and other events starts.
Traditional costume parade
The next tradition of the Munich Oktoberfest follows right on its heels. On the very first Sunday, thousands gather for the traditional Trachten- und Schützenzug. This was first held in honor of King Ludwig I of Bavaria, who celebrated his silver wedding anniversary with his wife Princess Therese in 1835.
PICTURES: Traditional costume parade at the Oktoberfest
60 years later there was the next parade, which was initiated by the writer Maximilian Schmidt and already displayed 1400 traditional costumes. However, it was not until 1950 that the traditional costume parade became a fixed part of the Oktoberfest. Since then, fans of traditional costumes have met every year at the Maximilianeum and marched seven kilometers to the Festwiese, accompanied by cheerful brass music.
Meanwhile, the traditional costume parade - also led by the Münchner Kindl - has even become one of the highlights of the Oktoberfest, with up to 8,000 people dressed in traditional costume taking part every year. This makes the Oktoberfest's Trachtenzug the largest such procession in the world.
Tip: You want to participate in the traditional costume parade? Applications for this are to be sent to Festring München e.V. - however, the registration deadline is already in January of the respective Oktoberfest year!