When thousands of Munich locals meet at dawn at the Chinesischer Turm on July 17, 2022, dressed to impress for a spot of dancing, it’s Kocherlball time in the city once again.
Waltzes, polkas or the traditional Zwiefacher and Münchner Française: at Munich’s largest folk dance event, you can dance to your heart’s content every year in July.
Many visitors come in traditional costume or in old servants’ uniforms in memory of the origins of the festival: during the 19th century, the Kocherlball was a get-together for domestic servants (“Kocherl” is the local dialect for “cook”). They had to meet at the crack of dawn, to ensure they could be ready for work as soon as their masters returned from church.
In those days, up to 8,000 manservants, errand boys, maids, coachmen, cooks and chefs would come to the Chinesischer Turm (beer garden) to take a turn on the dance floor. However, the authorities were suspicious of this and so the event was banned in 1904 for "lack of morality".
In 1989, a Kocherlball was organised to mark the 200th anniversary of the Englischer Garten (park), and since then the dance has taken place every year, always on the third Sunday in July from 6 am to 10 am. Those attending the event are of course welcome to bring a snack, but not the beverages, as has always been the tradition in the genuine Munich beer gardens.
Tip: Get up early! Many arrive before the event officially kicks off to nab one of the precious seats available.