Lifestyle, Student Life, Travel September 05, 2019
PROST! The Oktoberfest Guide: 7 useful things you need to know to be a proper German

PROST! The Oktoberfest Guide: 7 useful things you need to know to be a proper German

1. A little bit of history: What is the difference between Oktoberfest and Wiesn?

First of all, I am pretty sure most people have heard about Oktoberfest. But what are the Germans actually celebrating by drinking lots of beer?

Oktoberfest is the world’s largest Volksfest. It started as a love story in 1810 when the German Crown Prince Ludwig married his princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen in the fields in front of Munich’s city gates. 

These fields were afterwards called “Therensenwiesn”, in honour of the princess. At the time, all citizens celebrated the wedding together, in the same fields where today more than 100000 people party each year. This also explains why some people call Oktoberfest, Wiesn. 

And if you’ve ever asked yourself if there is a difference between the two, the simple answer is, there is none! So if you want to impress someone with your huge historical knowledge about Wiesn, you are prepared now!

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2. German beer culture

What is the first thing that comes in people’s minds when thinking about the German culture? Beer! 

Germany is famous for it’s beer culture and Germans are very proud of it. Especially at Oktoberfest, it is the most popular drink. But be prepared, the beers served at Oktoberfest are 1 litre jugs! The so-called “Maß” cost about 12 euros and must be from one of Munich’s six breweries: Paulaner, Spaten, Hacker, Augustiner, Hofbräu or Löwenbräu. 

Every year, more than 7 million litres of beer are sold at Oktoberfest.

(https://www.edreams.com/blog/fun-facts-oktoberfest/ click here for some more fun facts about Oktoberfest that you surely didn’t know!)

Currently, a German taxation officer holds the world record for carrying 27 beer mugs, walking 40 meters with them and then setting them down. The drunk idea of carrying beer mugs even turned into a discipline and is known as “Stein carrying” or as Germans say “Masskrugtragen” which is exercised in the Waiter Olympics as the most important discipline. 

3. Oktoberfest cuisine: What is on the menu?

Prepare your stomach for litres of beer you are about to ingest and don’t forget to eat!

But that should not be a problem because rich, rustic and hearty eating is half the fun during the festival. Weisswurst or “white sausage” for breakfast and Obatzda, which is a blend of spiced cheese and butter, are just some of the culinary highlights that you will expect at Oktoberfest! 

One of the most identifiable features of the German cuisine is a typical “Brezen” (pretzel) which is a giant plated version of the pretzels served in the tents. But since eating a Brezen the normal way is boring, Germans love to eat theirs with mustard or filled with butter.

Other delicacies are Schweinshaxe (roasted pork knuckles) or if you like it veggie you should try out Spätzle, which is often compared to mac-n-cheese.

And if you are thinking about the health level of these delicacies, it’s better you don’t! Anyway, there is a lot to try at Oktoberfest and you will love it! 

4. Oktoberfest songs you have to know 

What is the most important thing to make a party legendary besides drinks, food and cool people? The right music!

In order to be able to sing the Wiesn Hits, we have a list of songs for you which every Oktoberfest visitor needs to know. 

Starting with the most important one, “Ein Prosit”. This is THE song of Oktoberfest as it is played in the beer tents every 15 minutes and considered to be the most-played German drinking song at Oktoberfest. Whenever this song comes on, stand up with your beer mug, dance on the bench and sway along to the tune with the people next to you – trust me, everyone will do so. 

Other songs strongly recommended to listen to before going are:

  • Andreas Gabalier: Hulapalu
  • Josh: Cordula Grün
  • Andreas Gabalier: I sing a Liad für di
  • Mickie Krause: Schatzi schenk mir ein Foto
  • Markus Becker: Das rote Pferd
  • Höhner: Viva Colonia
  • EveryHelene Fischer and DJ Ötzi song you can find 

Get to know these songs before attending and you can sing along!

5. How to dress properly: Dos and Don’ts 

Did you know that each year Oktoberfest starts in September? Well, there is a simple reason for that which is the German weather. In September the weather is still warm and pleasing whereas October days can be very cold. 

And what would an Oktoberfest be without men in traditional “Lederhosen” and women wearing “Dirndl”? Around 95% of all festival visitors are wearing traditional couture that can be summed up in two words, “Lederhosen” and “Dirndl”, so it is highly recommended to dress traditionally in order to have the real Oktoberfest experience. 

The Dirndl women typically wear, is a dress or a skirt combined with a low-cut blouse with short puff sleeves. 

Just be careful on which side you tie the bow of the Dirndl. Wearing the bow on the left side means that you are single whereas the right side means that you are not available anymore. Wearing the bow tied in the middle means you are a virgin or “its none of your business”. Interpretations go far with this matter. So to all the men out there, you should have a look at a woman’s Dirndl bow first, it can help to avoid misunderstandings! 

Talking about men, the traditional Wiesn look consists of leather pants, often combined with a check pattern blouse and loafers (as pictured). 

Generally, you are free to wear whatever you want but dressing traditionally is also part of the Oktoberfest experience and will for sure be a lot of fun! 

6. Oktoberfest without alcohol

Wait.. what? Yes, you read it correctly. Oktoberfest without alcohol IS possible and actually not as devious as it may sound. 

What many people don’t know is that Oktoberfest is not only a huge party with lots of beer and people dancing in tents on benches…it is also very family friendly.

I have to admit, the idea of bringing children to a massive beer festival might seem pretty far out, but the truth is that there are hundreds of children attending the festival enjoying the roller coasters, games and traditional Bavarian parades. 

Some of the most famous amusement rides include  the largest transportable roller coaster, Olympia Looping, and the tallest mobile drop tower in the world. 

For sure a non alcoholic Oktoberfest is not as much fun as one with many beers, but it is possible as there is so much to do besides drinking in the beer tents!

7. Last but not least: Can I take my beer mug home?

In 2010, 130,000 beer mugs were taken home. Officially, it is not permitted to take your beer mug home, however, many Oktoberfest visitors like to take a souvenir with them.

Last but not least, another important tip: vendors at the Oktoberfest accept cash only. Make sure you withdraw enough money for a full day of beer, food and amusement rides! 

Oktoberfest just happens once a year, and however you spend it – it will be an amazing experience that everyone should have done at least once in their life. And now, there is nothing more to say than PROST!

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