MUENCHENER KINDL: First a monk, then a boy, then a gender-neutral child, a girl, and finally a young woman on a horse leading the way to Oktoberfest.
The Münchner Kindl sure has evolved since it first appeared on Munich's coat-of-arms over 800 years ago.
The symbol stems from Munich's first inhabitants, an order of monks who lived around the St Peter's Church in Munich's centre.
BEER KID: The Münchner Kindl
featured on a 1900 postcard from
The original coat-of-arms is more or less unchanged, a black-and-yellow-robed monk holding a book in one of his outstretched hands.
But through the centuries the Kindl has taken dozens of different incarnations, including many where the book is given up for a much more appetizing mug of beer and a radish.
Some speculate the Kindl was the inspiration for the Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz, which makes sense.
Keep your eyes open and you'll see the coat-of-arms everywhere in Munich - on trams and underground trains, manhole covers, beer steins and at the very top of the Neues Rathaus tower.
A leading lady - The Münchner Kindl today
A young Munich woman traditionally dons the robes to play the role of the Kindl at two events for Munich's Oktoberfest:
1. The Einzug der Festwirte (Grand entry of the Oktoberfest Landlords and Breweries) on the first day.
2. The Trachten - und Schützenumzug (The Costume und Riflemen's Procession) on the second day.
She sits "high to horse" and is followed by a few carriages carrying Munich's lord mayor and other honchos. The women anointed Kindl typically do the job for a few years before the role in passed onto someone else.
In 2010 a new young dame took over the reins – 17-year-old Maria Newrzella.
She’s the daughter of Manfred Newrzella, the director of the Munich Breweries Association (selection of the Kindl seems to operate mostly on nepotism).
But she’s Munich born and bred and lists her hobbies as dancing, sailing, skiing, swimming and drawing.
Now you can add “embodying Munich’s official mascot” to the list, lass!
From 2006 to 2009 the Kindl was played by 19-year-old Stefanie Krätz, the daughter of Sepp Krätz, the proprietor of the Hippodrom beer tent, which well explains how she landed the job.
Here's a memorable video from a couple of years ago when the Kindl also participated in the opening of the Munich asparagus season along with, funnily enough, the Bavarian Asparagus Queen.
Who said that Munich people didn't love their stalk vegetables just as much as their traditions!
OLD KID: Munich's Stefanie Krätz in Muenchener Kindl robes. Pic: CC fourme
Video of a Kindl
Here's a YouTube video of the opening of the Munich asparagus season (Spargelanstich). Standing next to the "old" Muenchener Kindl Stefanie Krätz is the 34th Schrobenhausen Asparagus Queen (Spargelkönigin) Sabrina Kaierle.
Schrobenhausen, a small Bavarian town north of Munich, is the centre of the state's asparagus-growing region.
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