Oktoberfest 2015 Munich: six million expected at world's largest folk festival
The mayor of Munich Dieter Reiter has tapped the first keg of beer to kick off the 182nd traditional German folk festival Oktoberfest.
Mayor Reiter inserted the tap with two mighty blows of his hammer and a cry of "O'zapft is" - "It's tapped."
More than six million visitors are expected to arrive in Munich for the 182nd Oktoberfest which runs until through October 4.
Ten of thousands are travelling to the feast via Munich's main train station, which has also seen floods of refugees arriving in recent weeks.
However today only a few dozen refugees had arrived there from Germany's southern border.
Police spokesman Simon Hegewald said: "The situation regarding the refugees' arrival at the train station is calm."
Hegewald added that the city was well prepared should more refugees show up over the weekend.
Oktoberfest facts and traditions
Munich beer only
The only beer you’ll find during the festival is brewed within the city limits of Munich. Only beers that fit this criteria are considered Oktoberfest Beers.
How strong is the beer?
Oktoberfest beer has from 0.6 to 1.1% more alcohol and sugar than the average german beer, making it even easier for people to forget all their worries, their hats, their names…
Cancelled 24 times
In 200 years, Oktoberfest has only been cancelled 24 times. The causes were mostly war and cholera epidemics.
Why is Oktoberfest called 'Oktoberfest' when it begins in September?
This a frequently asked question on the website Oktoberfest.de. Here's their answer:
The historical background: the first Oktoberfest was held in the year 1810 in honor of the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig's marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The festivities began on October 12, 1810 and ended on October 17th with a horse race. In the following years, the celebrations were repeated and, later, the festival was prolonged and moved forward into September.
By moving the festivities up, it allowed for better weather conditions. Because the September nights were warmer, the visitors were able to enjoy the gardens outside the tents and the stroll over "die Wiesen" or the fields much longer without feeling chilly. Historically, the last Oktoberfest weekend was in October and this tradition continues into present times.
Revellers enjoy a 'Teufelsrad' ('Devil's Wheel')
Belfast Telegraph Digital