What started out as a celebration of the marriage between Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen and the horse race that was part of the festivities has grown into an annual affair of dressing in costume and partaking of large quantities of beer. As you can imagine, this makes it quite popular.
However, this wasn’t always the case. The marriage took place in 1810 and the first beer was poured in 1892. It was also in the 1960s when they began to wear the Bavarian clothing to celebrate the marriage again– and to give it some identity, I’m sure.
However, I’d like to point out that this story illustrates our cultural and moral decline.
It certainly is “cute” that these men and ladies gather from around the world to dress up and socialize, but what was once an event celebrating a marriage has turned into a celebration of sex and booze.
You won’t find much celebrating the original couple, but of the fact that the famous beer tents are now closed if you venture to the Oktoberfest web site. In fact, you can’t find details about the history at all– just ways to get there, how much you can partake in, a gallery for pictures from it, and ads for places to stay while you’re there.
In many ways, it’s degraded into something that went from a source of national pride into just another excuse to drink– much like some of our own national holidays. Look at the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, etc. They’re more about picnicking, grilling, drinking and buying used cars than they are about remembering those who died and celebrating our freedoms.
We live in a culture that is quickly forgetting how it got where it was– the blood sweat and tears that made us free. And just as Oktoberfest lost its identity (and I’m not saying that it was that noble!), we are becoming a nation that doesn’t really understand the cost of freedom, and that looks at our holidays in much the same way– another excuse to drink.