The Oktoberfest Guide for Beginners
The Oktoberfest celebrations are some of the biggest parties in the world. Many different international locations host Oktoberfest festivities but the original and most famous takes place in Munich, Germany.
About 7 million people visit southern German each year for this giant party. If you're not sure what to expect, we've created this handy Oktoberfest vocabulary infographic for beginners. We've also created a guide for German speakers, which you can read here.
Take a look below the graphic for more details on how to survive an Oktoberfest celebration!
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1: What do I drink?
Bier > Beer! Drinking beer is what Oktoberfest is most famous for. More than 6 million liters were consumed last year. However, the celebrations are not about getting drunk! There's a real appreciation for the quality of Bavarian beverage on offer.
Drinking will mostly take place within a Bierzelt > Cavernous beer tent. There are around 14 of these huge beer tents. Many tables are reserved months in advance. However, you can still claim a first-come, first-serve table outside the tents.
If you arrive for the start of Oktoberfest, you may hear the expression "Ozapft is" > Tapping of the first keg. This is a Bavarian expression, meaning ‘it’s tapped’.
The Mayor of Munich traditionally taps the first keg of beer, exclaiming the phrase, which marks the official opening of the festival.
2: What do I eat?
Food is everywhere. In the morning it is tradition to eat Weisswurst > White Sausage. Later in the day, you may enjoy Schweinshaxe > Pork Shanks and Apfelstrudel > Apple Strudel.
You will also see a lot of Lebkuchenherz > Gingerbread heart. These huge hearts are often hung around girls’ necks with loving messages such as I Mog Die > I Like You!
3: What do I wear?
If you want to look like a local, men must sport Lederhosen > Traditional Bavarian leather shorts while women can wear Dirndl > Traditional Bavarian dresses.
The Dirndl ribbon reveals the wearer’s availability. Look just above the apron: If there’s a bow on her right, this means that she is Verheiratet > Married.
A bow on the left means that she is Unverheiratet > Not married and still available. Those women who wear their bow in the middle are still Unentschlossen > Undecided.
4: What's the music like?
You will hear lots of Blasmusik > Oompah music. If the rhythm takes you, can indulge in some Schuhplatteln > Slap dancing. However, you may want to leave that to the experts!
5: Who is going to be there?
Apart from the 7 million regular people, you may spot some celebrities. Take another look at the infographic and see if you recognize any of the famous faces!
Oktoberfest Celebrations Around the World:
Oktoberfest has inspired numerous similar events around the world. Here are just a few of the places where you can join the fun:
Argentina: The Oktoberfest in Villa General Belgrano, Córdoba has taken place every October since 1963.
Australia: In Australia, pubs and restaurants in university areas hold Oktoberfest style events each year. The most famous takes place at the Harmonie German Club in Canberra.
Brazil: In Brazil, several southern cities have their own Oktoberfest. The largest one is at Blumenau. There are 18 days of music, dance and food, commemorating Brazilian ancestors that came from Germany.
Canada: In Canada there is an annual Oktoberfest in Kitchener, Ontario. Oktoberfest celebrations are also held in Sherbrooke, Quebec.
Chile: In Chile there are Oktoberfest-style celebrations in Valdivia, Puerto Octay, Puerto Varas, Frutillar and Llanquihue and Malloco.
Colombia: A series of concerts and events are held along different cities around the country.
USA: There are hundreds of large and small Oktoberfest celebrations held annually throughout the country. The largest is held in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Have you been to an Oktoberfest celebration? Leave a comment and let us know your experience!