The History of Oktoberfest
The Oktoberfest in Latvia is celebrated in Riga, following the Bavarian model. In order not to forget the historical background of the Munich original, here is a brief overview:
No king, no minister, but a bourgeois sergeant laid the foundation for the Oktoberfest with his idea. As a member of the Bavarian National Guard he submitted the proposal to celebrate the wedding of Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Sachsen-Hildburghausen with a large horse race. The banker and cavalry major Andreas von Dall’Armi sent the proposal to King Max I Joseph of Bavaria – he was convinced immediately.
The first Oktoberfest
On October 17, 1810, the time had come: In honor of the royal bridal couple, who had married on October 12, 1810, the first horse race and therefore the forerunner of the Oktoberfest took place on today’s Theresienwiese, which was then still located on the outskirts, and was named after the Bride Princess Therese.
And on it goes
One year later everyone agreed that the festival should continue. Organizer this time was the “Agricultural Association in Bavaria” that used the festival and horse race for the presentation of agricultural services. In 1813, the Oktoberfest had to be canceled for the first time because of the Napoleonic wars.
In the late 19th century, the Oktoberfest developed more and more into the festival that we know today. Electric lights illuminated the stalls and carousels, more and more showmen felt attracted by the fuss, and breweries built huge beer tents with music bands instead of small beer stalls due to immense demand.
The Oktoberfest today
Nowadays, the Oktoberfest is the largest folk festival in the world and attracts around six million visitors every year. The guests from abroad are becoming ever more numerous; they are not only coming from the neighboring countries Italy, Austria and Holland, but also the USA, Japan, and Australia.
More information: www.oktoberfest.de