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Enjoy piecing together this beautiful horse jigsaw puzzle, featuring two splendid white horses in traditional dress pulling an old-style wooden beer barrel cart at Munich's Oktoberfest in Germany.
The Oktoberfest in Munich is the largest folk festival of the world. It has taken place since 1810 at an area called the Theresienwiese (literally meaning Therese's Meadow) in the Bavarian capital of Munich. Each year around six million people visit to enjoy the celebrations. In 2011 the Oktoberfest party drew nearly seven million visitors. The breweries of Munich brew a special beer, known as “Wiesn-Märzen” just for the Oktoberfest, containing more flavour and a higher alcoholic content (about 6 to 7%) compared to regular beers.
History of the OktoberfestFestivals in October were no rarity in olden-day Bavaria. They served to use up the stored beer before the beginning of the new brewing season. The big Munich Oktoberfest as it is today looks back to a 200-year-old history. It took place for the first time on the 17th of October, 1810. On the occasion of the wedding of crown prince Ludwig and princess Therese on the 12th of October, 1810, the banker and major Andreas Michael Dall'Armi organised a big horse race on a meadow near the town walls of Munich.
Because crown prince Ludwig was very interested in ancient Greece, one of his subjects suggested holding the party in the style of the ancient Olympic games. The proposal was taken up enthusiastically and the Oktoberfest during its early years therefore had a mainly sporty character. The Bavarian King's court decided, to the public's joy, to repeat the horse race at the same time the following year. Thus, the tradition of the Oktoberfest began.
Due to Bavaria being involved in the Napoleonic wars, the celebration was not held in 1813. However, after this the festival grew each year. Skittle alleys, swings and climbing trees were added to the horse racing course. In 1818 the first carousel was set up. The following year, in 1819 the Munich town fathers took over the festival management. It was formally decided that from then onwards the Oktoberfest should be celebrated every year.
During the following years some Oktoberfests failed. One reason for this was cholera – two epidemics hit in the years 1854 and 1873. The Prussian-Austrian war stopped the 1866 Oktoberfest from being held, as did the German-French war 1870.
By the end of 19th century the Oktoberfest had developed to the public festival which is known today all over the world. The festival's duration was extended and brought forward in time to the end of September, because of the nice warm “Indian summers” that often occur during the end of that month and to avoid the often much chillier October weather. Since then only the final weekend falls in October. From 1880 the city approved beer sales. Electric lights illuminated more than 400 tents and booths. To create more seats for visitors and space for musical bands, the breweries set up large beer halls in place of smaller beer booths. At the same time the festival continued to draw more carousels and exhibits which provided extra entertainment.
In 1910 the festival celebrated its 100th birthday and 12,000 hectolitres of beer were served. In the largest beer tent at the time, 12,000 guests atttended. Today the Hofbräu auditorium with 10,000 places is the largest beer tent at the Oktoberfest.
From 1914 to 1918 the Oktoberfest was not held, due to the First World War. In 1919/1920 only a small "autumn festival" was celebrated, Germany's problems of hyperinflation caused further problems in holding the festival in 1923/1924.
Also during the Second World War from 1939 to 1945 no festival took place. In the postwar years from 1946 to 1948 there was at least an "autumn party" again. Since its commencement the Oktoberfest had thus failed to be held a total of 24 times.
In the course of the following decades the Oktoberfest developed to become the biggest public festival of the world. The horse racing was no longer part of the festival after the Second World War, with the exception of the 150th jubilee in 1960 and the 200th jubilee in 2010.
On the 26th of September, 1980 a bomb exploded in the main entrance of the festival area. Thirteen people were killed and over 200 were injured.
Today, the Oktoberfest attracts over 6 million visitors each year. Evermore these include visitors from abroad, mainly from Italy, the USA, Japan and Australia. Recently the trend towards the national costume has asserted itself, so that not only the people running the festival, but also many visitors, come dressed in traditional garb like lederhosen (leather trousers) and the traditional lady's dress known as a dirndl.
Excessive consumption of alcohol has become a growing problem over recent years. To avoid the atmosphere on the meadow becoming evermore like the the mood on the Balearic island of Ibiza, trade organizers developed in 2005 the concept of the “calm meadow”. The tent operators are urged to play only traditional wind music until 18:00 o'clock and to limit the music volume to 85 decibels. Only in the evening is pop and chart music also played. The Oktoberfest is thereby more accessible to families and older visitors again and the traditional atmosphere is preserved.
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Thanks to Peter Becker for the use of the lovely picture of white horses at munich's Oktoberfest used in this online jigsaw puzzle.
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