You might have come across a common article of clothing worn by the men at Oktoberfest. It looks like a pair of leather trousers with a front drop flap with fine embroidery on the front and suspenders. This is the Lederhosen and it has a long and rich history.
Where it all started?
The origins of Lederhosen can be traced back to the same region where Oktoberfest first took place in Bavaria, Germany. That is why Lederhosen are such a big part of Oktoberfest today since both stem from the same culture and geographic region of Germany. Locals and tourists alike dress up in Lederhosen to attend Oktoberfest in modern times to continue the tradition which started in 18th century Bavaria and to show their respect and appreciation towards the culture.
Who wore it first?
The very first people to wear Lederhosen were the peasant community of Bavaria in Germany. The Lederhosen was primarily designed as an outfit that provided flexibility and comfort to the wearer but was sturdy enough to endure the wear and tear of rigorous work.
But they weren’t the only ones to wear it. In other parts of Europe, people wore almost the same leather trousers for hunting or riding. Yet the Bavarians were the ones who wore them most commonly even though these Lederhosen were made from low quality goat leather.
How did it become so popular?
During the Rococo period of the 18th century, the trend among the affluent and courtly class of society was to imitate the simpler style of life followed by the peasants. As such, they started wearing the Lederhosen more and more, however their Lederhosen were starkly different from those they took inspiration from.
Made from pure deer skin leather with fine embroidery and decoration, these Lederhosen were the mark of nobility. Since the nobles were also expert hunters so the deer skin leather gave them more flexibility to hunt their prey freely. Soon, Lederhosen became the way of life for all the people in Bavaria, from being worn to weddings and funerals to being fit for everyday work, it was the perfect clothing.
Why is it so closely linked to Oktoberfest?
Other than the commonality in the culture between Oktoberfest and Lederhosen, the true story behind the beginning of Oktoberfest reveals why Lederhosen is considered to be the only acceptable clothing in which to attend the event. Oktoberfest started as a celebration of the wedding between King Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese on October 12th, 1810.
The locals of Bavaria were invited who came dressed in Lederhosen. They sang, drank and celebrated the marriage in such a great fashion that it was decided they should do it again next year. And so as the celebrations continued year after year, becoming bigger and better, Oktoberfest was born and today we take inspiration from Old Bavarians on how to celebrate Oktoberfest.
This is the astonishing history behind Lederhosen and now you know why it is so popular in Bavaria. So impress your mates with a bit of history about the Lederhosen the next time you visit Oktoberfest.