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Revelers receive free beer in the Paulaner tent on the first day of the 2017 Oktoberfest beer fest on September 16, 2017 in Munich, Germany. Oktoberfest is the world's largest beer celebration and typically draws over six million visitors over its three-week run. Oktoberfest includes massive beer tents, each run by a different Bavarian brewer, as well as amusement rides and activities.
Photograph by Philipp Guelland—Getty

Oktoberfest is upon us as the first day began Sept. 16. The German festival is now a worldwide phenomenon celebrating Bavarian culture and flowing pints of beer. Here’s everything you need to know about the celebration.

When is it?

Oktoberfest runs from Sept. 16 to Oct. 3 this year, according to Munich’s website. It normally runs for 16 days with the last day being the first Sunday in October. However, if that 16 days falls before Oct. 3, it will last 17 or 18 days.

Why is it celebrated?

Oktoberfest began as a wedding celebration more than 200 years ago when Bavaria’s Crown Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on Oct. 12, 1810. The wedding was celebrated with multiple days of drinking, feasting and horse races.

The celebration then became an annual event.

Where is it celebrated?

Oktoberfest celebrations can be found all over the world, but the main event is in Munich, Germany, where the first Oktoberfest was held.

How is it celebrated?

Oktoberfest is often associated with beer, but the festival’s traditions go beyond that. While the beer tents, of course, provide drinks, they also play only traditional Bavarian music. The original six Munich breweries still provide the beer. You can also catch people in traditional Bavarian clothing, dirndls and lederhosen.

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