MUNICH – What better way to start your day than with dancing? The Kocherlball or “Cook’s Ball” is an early morning dance festival around the Chinese Tower in Munich’s Englischer Garten. Mark your calendar for this year’s celebration on Sunday, 21 July 21 between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Six o’clock in the morning? Yes, that’s right. The tradition dates back to the 1880s when some 8,000 soldiers, cooks, maids, nannies, and other servants would meet at dawn to party. If you’re thinking it’s hard enough just to get out of bed that early, let alone dance, you make a valid point. However, leisure time was not plentiful for domestic workers, so they used those precious moments in the morning to dance and socialize before they had to go to work.
In 1904 the Kocherlball was banned by the police (since when is having a good time illegal?) but was reinstated a few decades ago.
It’s a good thing because the Kocherlball is one of Munich’s best, most traditional festivals.
Set your alarm clock (or, if you’re a night owl, just stay up through the night), wear Dirndl or Lederhosen (traditional Bavarian costumes), and join thousands of others for a morning of eating, drinking, and dancing. Last year about 9,000 people showed up for the event, so it’s recommended that you arrive way, way earlier than 4:30 a.m. if you want to get a table. Although the ball officially ends at 10 a.m., you can expect the celebration to last throughout the day.
Breakfast will be offered, but if you don’t have an appetite for meat, cheese, and bread, you can bring your own food. Keep in mind that drinks are supposed to be purchased at the Biergarten. Don’t know how to dance the Polka or Zwiefache? Just move to the beat; with such a large crowd of people, you won’t be the only uncoordinated one.
The Kocherlball takes place annually on the third Sunday in July, but what’s stopping you from dancing while watching the sun rise more than once a year? After all, it’s a sure-fire way to get your endorphins and energy flowing—and who couldn’t use more of that in the early morning?
Story contributed by Taylor Isaacson