Les Fetes Fests

Oktoberfest

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“Ein Bier, bitte” (“one beer, please”), he muttered and was swiftly obliged. Two large hands handed him an even larger maß (glass mug) glistening with dark, rich beer. His “danke” was drowned out by a loud “prost!” from one of the 10,000 seats in the Hackerzelt. He jostled his way through an array of noisy picnic tables, holding more food than people: Hendl, Sauerkraut, Reiberdatschi, Knackwurst and delicacies such as Obatzda and Weißwürste. He eventually managed to find an empty table near the local Bavarian rock band playing ‘Country Road’. He was soon joined by a family of four, all dressed in traditional garb; the dirndl worn by the wife, composed of a dress, a blouse and an apron. Her better-half left to get Brez’n and beer, his leather pants squeaking as he disappeared into the crowd, adjusting his suspenders over a white cotton shirt. The children narrowly avoided the bierleichen (beer corpses) as they greedily gorged on Lebkuchenherzen.
This is what one can experience at the Oktoberfest 2014. On September 20, 2014, Munich, the capital of the German state of Bavaria opened the world’s largest fair. The annual festival called “Wiesn” by the locals, is spread over a period of 16 days and is attended by over 6 million people. The Munich Oktoberfest began in 1810, as a celebration of the royal wedding of the Crown Prince Ludwig of Bravaria to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen and was continued in the subsequent years to give rise to the tradition of the Oktoberfest.
This year, will mark the 181st edition of the Oktoberfest that will conclude on October 5th, 2014. The official opening ceremonies comprised of the arrival of tent patrons that paraded through Munich. Owing to the punctual nature of Germans, at exactly 12:00 p.m in the “Schottenhamel” beer tent ,the mayor of Munich Christian Ude will have the honour of tapping the first keg of the Oktoberfest beer. As is custom, the first words he will speak into the microphone would be “O’zapft is!” (“It is tapped!”) as he wishes everyone a joyous Oktoberfest. The first mug of beer is then passed on to the Prime Minister, thus signalling the other 14 beer tents to start selling their beer as well.

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The second day will witness a traditional costume parade through Munich, a much awaited event by the tourists, while the following day will be a treat for 1200 preschool children who have been invited to watch the Oktoberfest tour, succeeded by a special lunch for senior citizens, both novel concepts for the fest. The festival has a lot to offer to families such as rides and performance at concessional rates, not to mention a free lesson on the culture and history of Germany. The “Wiesn” will end with a bang, with the traditional 12-gun salute.
Oktoberfest is more than a beer festival; it is an occasion to relive bygone eras, to celebrate food, friends and life, albeit for a few days.

Fête de la Musique

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We’ve had the tributes to Pink Floyd and we’ve had the tributes to Maroon 5.
We’ve had people playing Led Zeppelin and we’ve had numerous Beatles performances.
And how can we forget the various Jazz, Rock, Metal, Pop, Sufi Rock, Trance musicians coming up? The tragic part is, we can’t go for all these performances. We can’t attend each and every concert.
But just imagine what if we could!?
Imagine walking on the street, with music playing all around you. Every lane having musicians playing different genres of music. Imagine not having to look for places to perform. You just take your instrument and start playing on the street, bringing forth what music means to you, to the world. Imagine just walking around WITHOUT an Ipod, or those earphones stuck inside your ears for a day, as the world plays that role for you.
That is EXACTLY what the 21st of June is all about! La Fête de la Musique or the International Music Festival is something that should be there on everyone’s bucket list!
Launched in 1982 by the French Ministry for culture, the Fête de la Musique is held in more than hundred countries in Europe and over the world. It takes place every 21st June, the day of the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere.
The 21st of June is a music lover’s paradise. Every nook and cranny is filled with the tunes of every genre of music. Initiated by the French, this is a fast growing tradition that even India now participates in.
We’ve heard of music being an international language, well this is your proof!
This Music day allows the expression of all styles of music in a cheerful atmosphere. It aims at a large audience, working to popularise musical practice from all social backgrounds. It gives an opportunity to communicate and share a very special moment through music.
Apart from being one of the most popular fêtes, it is also a completely free one! Yes it is! You don’t have to pay, anything at all. It allows all genres of music to present themselves to a highly appreciative audience.
When you go to Paris, you will find people playing everything from French music to American to old country to hip hop to Church hymns to African songs and dances to Indian songs! The love for music makes you cross all sorts of boundaries as you experience and learn more about each and every culture that is there in the world, and all through music.

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The various tunes, the dancing, the humming, the singing, the different melodies that you hear, all go so well together. The colourful lights and the clanks of the beer mugs, as you sit and enjoy the soulful, relaxing atmosphere makes you want to swoon through the night. It makes you come to life and embrace the happiness around you.
As I mentioned earlier, La Fête de la Musique is also celebrated in India, that too in New Delhi. So watch out for it the next 21st of June, as the streets fill up with the sounds of music in Lodhi Estate at the Alliance Francais de Delhi and Hauz Khas Village.
Play out what music means to you and hear your name being called by thousands of people. Bring out that happiness in you and share it with others. All you need, is a few strokes of those strings; a couple beats of those drums and the love for life!

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