At the Kocherlball (“servants’ ball”), every year in July, Munich’s inhabitants dance in the English Garden at the crack of dawn.
This festivity is a heritage from the 19th century: up to 5,000 people being employed as domestic stuff (cooks, maids, butlers, carriage drivers, etc.) would gather every Sunday at the Chinese Tower to dance for a while before heading back to work. In 1904, the spontaneous event was forbidden for a “lack of morality”.
The bicentenary of the English Garden in 1989 served to reinstitute the “Kocherlball”. Since then, it takes place on the 3rd Sunday of July each year. Starting at 6 a.m., people dance – preferably dressed in traditional costume called “Trachten” (“Lederhose” or “Dirndl”), but some of them show up in old-fashioned servants’ suits that remind of the ball’s origins.
Up to 15,000 people show up on that morning, and tables closest to the centre in the beer garden are reserved months in advance. Some party lovers even gather there the previous evening and dance through all night! What used to be an informal gathering of servants turned into one of the biggest events of summer in Munich.