Bavaria & You: Love at First Sight
Bavaria is a state rich in culture and history. The German state may be best known for its beer, but there’s much more to know and appreciate about the second-most populated state in all of Germany.
The State of Bavaria is considered by some to be the oldest state in Europe. Its history dates back to the sixth century and includes periods of dukedom, kingdom and finally statedom. The Kingdom of Bavaria existed from Jan. 1, 1806 until Nov. 18, 1918. The Kingdom lost power in 1918, when parliamentary democracy took over. It wasn’t until 1946 though, that a constitution was drafted.
Bavaria is the largest federal state in Germany. It is divided into seven different regions. Those regions are Upper, Middle and Lower Franconia, Upper and Lower Bavaria, Bavarian Swabia and Upper Palatinate. Munich is the capital of Bavaria.
There are three tribes in Bavaria, each with their own traditions, languages and cultures.
The Old Bavarians. These individuals live in Upper and Lower Bavaria, as well as the Upper Palatinate. There are approximately 6.4 million who belong to this group.
The Franconians. In Upper, Middle and Lower Franconia live the 4.1 million who call themselves members of the Franconian tribe.
The Swabians. The smallest of the tribes is the Swabians. Numbering 1.8 million, these individuals believe that work is their own reward.
The state is predominantly Catholic (67.2 %), with Protestantism coming in second (24.1%) and a fraction claiming other religious denominations (3.6%), according to Bayern.de.
Celebrations and Festivals
Festivals and cultural events are very important to the citizens of Bavaria. Not only that, but they attract tourists from every area of the globe with their music, beer and theater.
Opera festivals. These festivals draw millions of visitors each year. Perhaps the best known is the Richard Wagner Festival.
The Passion Play. In Obermmergau, the Passion Play is performed once every decade. The performance dates back to 1633, when the city was hit by the Plague.
The Munich Beer Festival. Also known as Oktoberfest, this may be Bavaria’s best-known celebration. Every year, this festival attracts six million visitors. The 16-day celebration includes amusement park rides, games, a parade and music by Bavarian bands. Lederhosen is popular. Of course, visitors will also find copious amounts of German beer and bratwurst, two things this celebration is known for.
If you’re an athelete or just a sports fan, Bavaria is a world-class location for sporting events. The Alps are perfect for alpine or cross-country skiing, or tobogganing if that’s your thing. The lakes and rivers in the region provide opportunities for rowing and canoeing, while there are 8,700 meters of cycling trails for the cycling enthusiast. Top-class athletes train at the Olympic Base.
Elite international ski jumpers gather here too, converging on Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Obertsdorf for the Four Jump Tournament every year. Football (i.e. soccer) fans can enjoy top class matches as well, as the region is home to some of Germany’s most traditional teams.