The State and its Inhabitants
Celebrations and Festivals
Festivals are special landmarks in the varied cultural scene in Bavaria and attract visitors from all parts of the world every year. Foremost among these is the famous Richard Wagner Festival in Bayreuth, a mecca for opera fans, which repeatedly makes theatrical history with revolutionary productions.
The Bavarian State Opera in Munich, one of the world's most famous opera houses, also produces a major event every summer with its Opera Festival. The Mozart Festival in Würzburg, the Bad Kissingen Summer Festival, the European Weeks in Passau, the Bach Week in Ansbach, and the International Organ Week in Nuremberg are further highlights in the international calendar of festivals.
About thirty theatres and opera houses with their own ensembles, together with a large number of amateur dramatic groups and open-air festivals provide a wide and varied range of performances of plays and musical works in Bavaria.
Around five million people attend the approximately 14,000 performances in the state every year. Lovers of classical music are well catered for with some of the leading orchestras in the world: the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, the Bavarian State Orchestra, and the Symphony Orchestra of the Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation.
Every ten years the famous Passion Play takes place in Oberammergau. It dates back to the year 1633, when the town was threatened by the plague. The inhabitants of Oberammergau appear as actors and actresses in this religious play.
The Landshut Wedding is the largest historical celebration in Germany. Every four years about 2,000 inhabitants of Landshut don mediaeval costumes and re-enact the magnificent wedding of George the Wealthy, Duke of Bavaria and a Polish princess in the year 1475. The celebration involves lavish preparations and great attention to details; everything must be historically accurate here, down to the long hair of the male actors.
Every year the "Oktoberfest", the Munich Beer Festival, attracts more than six million visitors from every continent. This popular celebration, the oldest and most famous one in the world, has taken place since 1810 and is rightly considered a symbol of genuine Bavarian hospitality. At the "Wies'n", as the Beer festival is known in the Munich vernacular, comfortable beer tents and Bavarian specialities create a relaxed atmosphere. A highlight of the "Oktoberfest" is the traditional parade in Bavarian folk costume, in which about 8,000 people take part, led by the "Münchner Kindl" (the Child of Munich), the personification of the city's coat of arms.