Oktoberfest trivia

Do you know your Oktoberfest trivia? Here are 12 fascinating facts about the festival which may surprise you

12. Hitting it big

Oktoberfest officially starts when Munich’s lord mayor bashes a tap into a barrel of beer with a big mallet in a ceremony called the Anstich.
It’s always a matter of interest how many whacks the city’s first citizen needs to get the job done.
Christian Ude - lord mayor from 1993 to 2014 - set the ‘lower’ record with just two hits.
FACT: Thomas Wimmer set the still unbroken ‘upper’ record when he started the Anstich tradition in 1950 with a massive 19 hits.

11. Beer corpses

Every year, the Red Cross comes to the rescue of hundreds of Oktoberfest visitors who cram so much alcohol into their bloodstreams they pass out - or become similarly disposed.
The Germans have a delightful word if you’re in this state - Bierleiche - literally ‘beer corpse’.
They’re often carried away on gurneys which have a yellow covering to stop people gawking - thus it’s sometimes called a Wiesn Taxi, banane or even gelben Sarg (yellow coffin).
FACT: Drunken revellers often go to the slopes around the Bavaria Statue - known as the Kotzhügel (translation: spew mountain) to sleep it off.

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Above: Bierleichen on the Kotzhügel. @ Oktoberfest trivia

10. A load to bear

I once met an Oktoberfest waitress who told me her job interview consisted of a feat of strength - she had to carry 10 Maß of water - each weighing 2.3kgs - 5lbs - across the room and back.
They do this all day for 16 days, and there are even competitions for Maß carrying.
FACT: The record is held by Oliver Strümpfel, who managed to carry 29 of the beasts 40 metres - that’s 147 pounds!

He did it in September, 2017, read more and watch a video here.

oktoberfest-waitress-oktoberfest-triviaNICELY DONE: This Oktoberfest waitress has mastered the art of carrying two handfuls of Maß. Pic: B. Roemmelt

9. Post-haste

The Theresienwiese becomes something of a small city during the festival - it even has its own post office.
It’s the perfect place to send off your postcards, beer steins, gingerbread hearts or whatever.
FACT: Each year, items sent from this branch get a special Oktoberfest stamp.

8. A ‘cathedral’ to good cheer

The grand Oktoberfest tents are sometimes described as ‘cathedrals’, and on one day at least, the Marstall tent becomes one.
On the first Thursday of the festival at 10am the tent hosts a special Christian service, where the children of the carnies are sometimes christened or confirmed.
FACT: It’s a tradition that’s been running since 1956.

7. Ein Prosit

The most popular song at Oktoberfest is undoubtedly Ein Prosit.
It’s played periodically in every single tent and on hearing the tune you, without fail, must raise your mug of beer and sway with everyone else at the table before raising a mighty toast at the end to the cry of: Oans, zwoa, Gsuffa! - ‘One, two, chug!’
FACT: Although Ein Prosit has become the anthem of the famous Bavarian festival, it was actually composed by a ‘foreigner’ - Bernhard Dittrich, who lived in the Saxon city of Chemnitz.

ein-prosit-oktoberfest-triviaRAISE YER GLASS: Every time Ein Prosit is played YOU MUST DRINK! Pic: Tommy Loesch @Oktoberfest trivia

6. An expensive relief

Having had so much to drink inside one of the Oktoberfest tents you may find yourself unable to wait until you find the next public convenience, and decide to risk a slash in a quiet corner somewhere outside.
Be careful though, if you get caught you can get fined up to €100!
FACT: The Oktoberfest grounds have 1,400 toilet seats and about 1km (3,280yd) worth of urinal space, but it can still be difficult to find somewhere to go when you need to!

5. Not quite full

You may notice after buying a beer at the Oktoberfest that the amber fluid isn’t quite up to ‘the line’ where you think it should be.
So have plenty of others, and there’s even a group been formed to combat the problem called the ‘Verein gegen betrügerischen Einschenken’ - the Society Against Fraudulent Pouring.
It just goes to show that they take their beer seriously in Munich!
FACT: it’s actually legal to fill an Oktoberfest Maß to only 0.9 litres - 100ml less than the full measure.
The society estimates that if that was done to every single Oktoberfest Maß they’d be saving €6m each year!

4. The biggest tent

The Bräurosl used to be the biggest Oktoberfest tent, seating 12,000 people!
But since it was made smaller the Hofbräu-Festzelt is the biggest, seating 6,520 inside and 3,020 outside.
The Hofbräu also has about 1,000 ‘standing places’ bringing its capacity up to 10,000.
FACT: The Hofbräu tent is decorated with huge wreaths of hanging hops.

3. The underwear angel

The guardian angel of the Hofbräu-Festzelt wears a mustache, plays a harp and floats on a fluffy white cloud.
You can’t miss Aloisius, and many revellers in this famous tent don’t - with their underpants.
It’s become a tradition to fling your bras, jockeys and whatever else you can safely remove without disgrace at the huge figure when the party gets pumping.
FACT: Beer at the Hofbräu is stored in 16 huge, 5,000-litre tanks.

oktoberfest-trivia-hofbrauhaus-zeltON CLOUD NINE: Aloisius, the angel, floats about the crowd at the Hofbräu-Festzelt. Pic: Frank Bauer @Oktoberfest trivia

3. Midnight at the Lost and Found

What people lose at the Oktoberfest is fascinating.
Last year, the festival’s Fundbüro picked up 660 wallets, 580 passports, 410 smartphones, two pairs of high-heels, a pink camera, two novels titled ‘Nie wieder Blondinen’ (translation: Blondes never again) and a doctor's certificate for work disability for the duration of the Oktoberfest.
FACT: 25 lost children were also found and taken care of by the Red Cross and municipal staff.

2. A magnet for the world

Contrary to what some say, Oktoberfest ain’t just for tourists - about 70 per cent of visitors to the festival are Bavarian, about 15 per cent from the rest of Germany and 15 per cent come from other countries.
The Italians are among the biggest international fans of the fest, followed closely by the Americans, the Swiss, the Brits and Austrians.
In fact, the Oktoberfest’s second weekend is known as the ‘Italian weekend’ because that’s when most of them seem to visit.
FACT: The Italian police force even sends a few officers to act as a liaison between the Bavarian cops and Italian visitors.

1. Einstein's ‘light bulb’ moment

einstein-oktoberfest-trivia

Believe it or not, Albert Einstein once worked at the Oktoberfest.
He grew up in nearby Ulm, you see, and worked for his dad’s electrics firm as an apprentice.
So at the end of the 19th century, the greatest mind of his generation found himself fitting the light bulbs in the Schottenhamel tent.
FACT: These days the Oktoberfest is powered by 43km - almost 28 miles - of electric cables and the festival consumes 2,700,000kWh - that’s enough to power a town of 21,000 people!

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*Sources for these gems of Oktoberfest trivia include the German-language newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and Munich's official tourism site www.muenchen.de.


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