The Münchener Kindl

Munich's wonderful mascot pops up everywhere in the Bavarian capital

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.

munchener-kindlBEER KID: A procession of Münchner Kindl featured on a 1930 postcard from Munich and the Oktoberfest.

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

munchener-kindlLEADING THE WAY: A young lady dressed as the Münchner Kindl leading the Oktoberfest parade. Pic: Rajesh_India
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.

Video of a Kindl

Here's a video of the latest young lass to take the title of Münchener Kindl, Viktoria Ostler.

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