A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

die Wiesn

The world's largest party--Munich's die Wiesn, a.k.a. Oktoberfest, ended yesterday, and I wasn't there. Oh, well. I'm concentrating on being there in 2010, which will be the bicentennial celebration of the first Oktoberfest, a wedding feast for Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. It proved so popular it was made an annual event, prolonged from six days to two and a half weeks, and moved back into September to take advantage of the better weather. Along the way, the original climactic event, a horse race, was dropped, while beer played an ever-increasing role. Today, Oktoberfest basically equals beer, lots of it.

Locals call the festival "die Wiesn" because it's held in Theresienwiese ("Theresa's Fields"). Many wear trachten--traditional clothing--some of which has been handed down lovingly through families. Lots of leather and boiled wool is in evidence: lederhosen, suspenders, brogues, cabled socks, hats stuck with feathers and pins. Dirndls, aprons, embroidered blouses. All beautifully made and unbelievably expensive. Some visitors opt simply for a t-shirt printed with lederhosen. Silly, but it gets you in the mood.

All the Munich breweries have halls where you can try their beer and various specialities. Ox, anyone? It can be tough to get into a hall, and there's no beer outside. Can you imagine going all the way to Munich for Oktoberfest and not being able to sample a beer? Well, I can. It happened to me a couple of years ago.

Here are some pictures courtesy of a jet-setting friend who did manage to get inside this year. These are the Augustiner Festhalle, the Hacker-Festhalle, and the Ochsenbraterei. Plus some kegs and some horses. I wonder what's in all those kegs?


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