Little Bits of History

Festive October

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 12, 2013
Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen

Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen

October 12, 1810: Crown Prince Ludwig I of Bavaria marries. He was the son of Count Patentine Maximilian Joseph of Zweibrücken (a former state of the Holy Roman Empire). The father was an officer in the French army and King Louis XVI of France was the baby’s godfather. The Count became a Duke, first of Zweibrücken and then also of Berg. As lines died off, he assumed ever greater titles until he became King of Bavaria on January 1, 1806.

Prince Ludwig (24) married Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen (18). Her father was also a Duke. The couple went on to have nine children, eight of them living to adulthood. When the couple married in Munich there was a great celebration. The festivities included all the citizens. They were invited to the fields to party and witness the royal horse races. The field was named for the Princess, Theresienwiese (but is usually shortened to Wiesn) and is still the venue for the party held yearly. The wedding celebration party remains even though Bavaria is now part of Germany. Oktoberfest is the quintessential Bavarian party.

The celebration was repeated for the happy couple’s first wedding anniversary. In 1812 there was a war going on and Oktoberfest was cancelled. By 1816, carnival booths began to appear. In 1819 the city of Munich took over the management of the festivities and Oktoberfest became officially a yearly event in perpetuity. The party was lengthened, lasting for days. The first parade was held in 1835 and became a yearly event by 1850. War once again intruded in 1914. Since 1812 Oktoberfest has been cancelled 24 times due to war, disease, or emergencies.

The celebration now lasts for three weeks beginning in mid-September and lasting into October. Temperatures are still high enough to drive people to the beer tents. Bavarian Beer is synonymous with Oktoberfest. Munich’s breweries set up booths where their products are sold by the liter. But they also sell soda and water along with a menu of traditional foods. You can drink and dine while listening to traditional Bavarian music. Drinking tents close at 10:30 PM most nights and the party ends at midnight only to begin again at 9 or 10 (depending on the day) the next morning.

“It’s tapped!” – opening of the Bavarian Beer tents

“At a festival where 6.1 million liters of beer are consumed, I’m not sure that those looking to hook up really need much help.” – Neil Woodburn

“Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer.” – Dave Barry

“People who drink light ‘beer’ don’t like the taste of beer; they just like to pee a lot.” – Capital Brewery, Middleton, WI

This article first appeared at in 2009. Editor’s update: The region takes the crafting of beer quite seriously. On April 23, 1516, the Reinheitsgebot or “German Beer Purity Law” or “Bavarian Purity Law” was enacted. The law stated that only water, barley, and hops could be used in the making of beer. It also gave the price for a beer as 1-2 Pfenning per Maß. The law has since been repealed and the Provisional German Beer Law is now in effect. This newer law permits yeast, wheat malt, and cane sugar to be used in beer, but now unmalted barley cannot be used. The prices have changed as well. When first enacted, the restriction of grain to barley wasn’t meant entirely for the sake of the beer, but to ensure that enough wheat and rye remained not in the beer vats and could be used to make bread for the populace.

Also on this day: Not Enough Sense to Get Out of the Rain – In 1923, Mackintosh raincoats went on sale.
6,000,000,000 – In 1999, there were six billion people on the planet.
Chris Landed – In 1492, Columbus landed in the New World.


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