You are an Oktoberfest newby and don’t know what it’s all about? Or you are looking for some more detailed information? Don’t worry, the following quick guide will provide you with basic information on all those strange German customs you might encounter during your Oktoberfest experience.
Oktoberfest music includes traditional Bavarian wind music, German hits and occasionally international pop songs. Especially on the weekends and in the evening, when all the young folks invade the Oktoberfest, (German) pop songs will be played at all beer tents
Going to the Oktoberfest is always connected with taking your luck at one of the many rifle shooting booths to win small gadgets in return. Shooting is deeply connected with German culture and hence a must-do for many visitors. Often, men try to shoot roses or other small presents for their heart ladies.
Schunkeln and Polonäse
Two of the most interesting ways to dance at the Oktoberfest are Schunkeln and Polonäse. When you do Schunkeln, you link your arms with your neighbors and rhythmically sway from side to side on the spot to the beat of a song. As the whole beer tent visiting crowd will start to do so, you soon end up in a big swaying crowd.
A Polonäse, on the other hand, is like a big walking snake made out of people. The person leading determines the way, while all the others follow, grabbing the shoulders of the person walking in front of you. Both are really fun combined with German music, so you should definitely try them out.
At the Oktoberfest, there are several huge beer tents that offer seats for more than 3000 visitors each and many smaller tents that offer seat for several hundred visitors. Beer and food is mostly served inside the beer tents, while one can enjoy traditional and modern fun rides and snacks at the Oktoberfest outside areas. In every beer tent is a stage for bands playing to entertain the beer drinking crowds.
Roasted chicken is the main dish in the beer tent – thousands of chickens are served every Oktoberfest day, either as a half or whole chicken with bread or mashed potato balls. The chicken’s taste is characterized by a crunchy skin and juicy meat and absolutely worth it’s money.
Beer at the Oktoberfest comes in big, huge 1l mugs, the so called Maßkrug. Don’t dare to ask any of the servants for a smaller beer – and if you ever do, be prepared to get laughed at. There is just nothing smaller than a Maß. Even any other drinks served at the beer tent (like softdrinks) come in the 1L Maßkrug.
At the Oktoberfest the Maß is always made of glass, so you can see that your Maß is full.
Every Oktoberfest starts with the traditional ‘O’zapft is: at noon on the first day (Saturday) of the Oktoberfest, the current mayor of Munich taps the first keg and yells out ‘O’ zapft is!’ (which could be translated as ‘it’s tapped’).
The traditional costumes worn at the Oktoberfest are Dirndl for the female and Lederhosen and Trachtenhemd for the male visitors. The real traditional Dirndl has a long skirt, however, in recent years short and Mini Dirndl became more and more popular amongst the young visitors. On the first Sunday of every Oktoberfest, there is a traditional costume and riflemen’s parade where one can watch all the traditional costumes.
‘Wiesn’ is how the locals call the Munich Oktoberfest and spoken Bavarian dialect for the German word Wiese. Wiese means meadow in English and refers to the big field the Oktoberfest takes place at, the Theresienwiese in Munich.
Image courtesy of digital cat on Flickr
Image courtesy of Polybert46 on Flickr