Why Is Oktoberfest Held in September?


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Why Is Oktoberfest Held in September?

Illustration By Danielle Grinberg

What’s in a name? This question may or may not reverberate among the 7.2 million revelers heading to Munich’s Oktoberfest in mid-September.

This year the festivities start on September 14, more than two weeks before month’s end. Oktoberfest ends early the following month, on October 6.

What gives? Why is the majority of Oktoberfest held in September?

Good questions. Oktoberfest starts in September because its final day has a fixed spot on the calendar. The last day of the festival is always on the first Sunday of October. As Oktoberfest has grown in popularity and stature, organizers have worked backward to capitalize on September’s warmer weather.

The annual Bavarian bash evolved from a royal wedding. In October 1810, the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen, and locals celebrated in Munich.

“The festivities began on October 12, 1810 and ended on October 17 with a horse race. In the following years, the celebrations were repeated and, later, the festival was prolonged and moved to September,” reads Oktoberfest.de, the festival’s official website.

A few beer stands arrived to sell refreshments to attendees circa 1818. The first time breweries sponsored tents and large-scale drinking halls was 1896. The global drinking community has never looked back.

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