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Oktoberfest: A celebration of beer and Bratwurst

26 SEPTEMBER 2012

Complete with traditional Bavarian costume, Bratwurst and millions of litres of beer, Munich has opened its doors to the world's biggest festival. 

With Oktoberfest well underway – it runs from September 22 to October 7 – we take a look at Germany's famous beer event. 

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What once started in 1810 as a great horse race and originally intended as a celebration of the marriage of King Ludwig I and Therese of Bavaria now hosts over six million visitors each year.

That's why the exciting display of 14 beer tents are found in the Theresienwiese field, named after Princesse Therese. Here, Germany pays homage to its best beers and the finest of local brews can be drunk in one litre krugs that are on offer – guaranteeing merriment all round. 

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But it doesn't stop at exploring local beer. Throughout the 16-day long party, festival-goers are also subject to Munich's traditional cuisine, such as schweinebraten (roast pork), brezelen (pretzel) and reiberdatschi (potato pancakes). 

And all the merry activity is accompanied by bands playing traditional German music, making for an altogether authentic experience.

Although it began as a wedding celebration, Oktoberfest has become a crucial event that has shaped German culture and heritage. 

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Nowadays, the celebrations commence when Lord Mayor of Munich taps the first beer keg and proclaims O'zapft is! (it's tapped!) on the first Saturday of the event.  

Indulge in Munich's most sought after beers but be wary, the strength of these brews are not what we are accustomed to. Germans even refer to the foreigner's failure to keep up with the locals' impressive drinking stamina as 'bierleichen'.

Whatever your reason for participating in Oktoberfest, or ‘die wiesen’, as referred to by Germans, it's sure to be an unforgettable experience. 

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