Oktoberfest — The first Oktoberfest took place on the 12 October 1810, to celebrate the marriage of Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Sachsen-Hildburghausen. All citizens of Munich were invited to a meadow (Wies'n) situated in front of the city tower, subsequently renamed the Theresienwiese in honor of the bride. In the early years of the fair, horse races were held, then as the event grew, an agricultural convention, which still takes place every fourth year, was added to the program. In 1896, businessmen working with the breweries in Munich built the first giant beer tents at Oktoberfest, and beer drinking has been the primary focus ever since. Today, the Oktoberfest is the best known beer festival around the world and has been replicated on all continents. In 2011, theOktoberfest hosted 6.9 million visitors from around the world who drank 7.5 million liters of beer and ate the equivalent of 118 oxes and 522,821 roasted chickens. At the center of the spectacle are 14 large beer tents, which are set-up along the Wirtsbudenstrasse in the northern part of Theresienwiese. These have seating capacity of up to 8,500 inside the tent and additional hundreds or thousands of seats in the adjacent beer gardens. Here only beer of the 6 major Munich breweries (Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu, Löwenbräu, Paulaner, Spaten-Franziskaner) is sold.
Starkbierfest - To appreciate the Munich love of beer you just have to consider what locals call the “fifth season”. It’s the Starkbierzeit (Strong Beer Time), a three-week frenzy of early-spring stout swigging.
But these ain’t no ordinary suds. Prepare your taste buds for a fortune of flavour, an abundance of aroma, a trove of textures: Munich Starkbier.
Frühlingfest - Munich Spring Festival (Münchner Frühlingsfest) takes place in the Northern part of Theresienwiese, on famous Oktoberfest grounds. Two large beer halls, a beer garden and more than 100 other attractions create the unique Fruhlingsfest-atmosphere. The beer halls include Bayernland tent (Augustiner beer) and Hippodrom (Spaten beer), as well as the Munich White Beer Garden (Paulaner). The festival has a family-friendly setting and at the same time great party in the tents especially in the evenings. At Bayernland tent a varied daily changing schedule of different bands is playing, rocking a young party crowd dressed in Dirndl and Lederhosen. Hippodrom offers a more exclusive atmosphere with typical Bavarian Festzelt-music, excellent food and drinks like champagne in addition to Munich beer! Don't miss the amazing fireworks on Friday evenings. And, last but not least, watch Champions League soccer matches of FC Bayern Munich that usually take place in that period of the year shown on large screen in an unbeatable setting in of the tents.
Maibaumaufstellen — On the 1st of May (which is a public holiday in Germany) strange things happen in some Upper Bavarian villages and even in Munich... Men in Lederhosn and girls in Dirndln carrying long poles meet on the central square. With these poles an even longer white-blue pole is erected. There is usually an oompah band playing, booths selling food and drinks and tables where you can sit down and enjoy this non-touristy spectacle. The large white-blue pole you find in almost every village and dozens in Munich (e.g. on the Viktualienmarkt) is called Maibaum (meaning may tree - known in English as a maypole) and the villages compete who has the tallest and the straightest one. It is cut down every three to five years and re-erected in the following year. Ask a local which village or district of Munich does it this year and be there not later than 10AM. There's several traditions revolving around maypoles, like the dance of the unmarried men and women. The weeks before May 1st, each village has to guard its maypole, because if some other village manages to steal it, they'll have to buy it back. Usually with beer...
Tollwood — In summer this alternative festival takes place in the Olympic Park, in winter on Theresienwiese (the Oktoberfest area). These 3-week festivals combine ethnic food, craft and souvenir shops, concerts and theater performances. They are very popular among the locals and worth a visit if you want to see a lesser known side of Munich.
More about traditional Bavarian holidays you can find here: