The modern incarnation of Bavarian culture dates back at least 1,000 years. Custom and tradition are serious business in Bavaria. Folk songs, dances and music are systematically taught, preserved and practiced in many Bavarian towns and townships. Culture clubs, societies for traditional costumes, folk dance groups and bands all labor to keep each new generation of Bavarians in fine fettle.
Festivities such as Kinderzeche (a pageant in Dinkelsbühl designed especially for children), Tänzelfest (a dance festival in Kaufbeuren) and various medieval knight tournaments in Kaltenberg and Kiefersfelden are just a few aspects of the celebration of all things Bavarian. The annual Landshut Wedding in Landshut, the Meistertrunk (“Master Draught”) in Rothenburg, the Nuremberg and the Frundsberg Festival in Mindelheim, and the Wallenstein Festivals in Altdorf all come highly recommended, as well as the the Slaying of the Dragon festival in Furth im Wald. There is also an assortment of visual arts institutions and instillations that are infused with a clear streak of local culture.
Needless to say, Munich is the beating heart of all this activity. There are few better times to sample all of the above than Oktoberfest. More than six million visitors come from all over the world each year to drink beer, eat sausage and join together in spontaneous outbursts of traditional songs. This year’s festival runs from September 22nd-October 7th. Admission is free (though tables can be booked in advance).