Oktoberfest is one of the biggest European events (name wise). I don’t think there is anyone who doesn’t know what this event entails.
However, for all its fame, it’s a bit of a misnomer as the event takes place in September and not October.
This being said, in German/Bavaria they call it Weisn.
It originally started in Munich, Germany, but as it’s popularity grew, other German, and non German for that matter, cities started throwing their own festivals.
What is most know, besides the giant beers (one liter sized), are the outfits participants wear. It’s mainly a Bavarian/Munich dress, but you might see it in other Oktoberfests.
The man wears a lauderhosen (though women can now wear it too) and women wear a dirndl.
As a woman, I selected a dirndl. It is comprised of these parts:
The blouse, the dress, a ribbon, and an apron. You can add other things to it, but this is the basic package. (Side note: women wear braids, but it is also normal to not wear braids, up to you)
The ribbon is just decoration and not for tightening like a corset. According to my local friends, if you don’t wear a ribbon, you will look ridiculous.
I accompanied my outfit with brownish green ankle boots.
You can get these outfits really anywhere. The cheapest place is at the train station; however, it looks like a cheap thing and is obvious….my German friend took me to a local shop in her hometown and we got one there. Of course it was more expensive, but it’s pretty authentic and very beautiful. Can’t complain :)
Due to wanting more of an authentic outfit, my friend (above) wanted me to get her a dress when/where I got mine. However, because the dress needs to be form fitting especially around the torso, it was hard. The dress ended up being a size or two too big. We managed to pin and fix the dress accordingly that one has no idea- especially in photos and we ended up trying to use the ribbon as a tightening thing.
It’s a hard decision- to either buy a dress that fits well at the train station (around 50 euros for everything) or in a store in Munich (around 150-200 euros for everything) or end up with an ill-fitting authentic dress for about 100 euros for everything.
Back to the actual event: It is nice to get a table (reservation) as you get lots of beer and a chicken, but it’s not necessary.
From what I had come to realize, is that it’s who you know. My friend started talking to a security guard and through him we ended up getting a place at a table. This being said, I recommend reservations in case.
One liter beer was 10.90 or 11 euros (sometimes the waiters just keep the 10 cents as tip) and a half a chicken was about the same price. A pretzel (bigger than the size of my head) was about 6 euros. There are other things to eat as well and outside in the carnival part, there were many stands selling sweet hot almonds.
One of the big traditions is to stand on the benches and dance with the music and just in general. I actually found it safer standing on the bench than sitting as I didn’t want to get stepped on.
So our table got empty and people were lining up like vultures to try to take our spot.
Due to all the drinking and smiles, the majority of people are open and friendly and you can meet a lot of great people.
Some words to help in your festivities:
Bier- beer (side note: only thing in the tents are actual beer, no Radlers (mixed beer with lemonade) and apparently they are more alcoholic than normal)
Maß (ma-ssss)- one liter beer
Handler- half chicken
Another recommendation would be to familiarize yourself with some Weisn songs as people sing along to these songs in the beer tents. Most of the time, the chorus is quite easy and are just sounds like “UFF, UFF, UFF!”
Another lesser known fact is that Oktoberfest is a big festival. There are rides and games and vendors galore. What you see on the media are the drinking tents, but there’s a lot more to it. The rides were pretty expensive being like 8 euros for one go.
After there are after parties at clubs in which everyone is wearing the outfits.
My university friend and I also made sure to have some other German food and stopped at the restaurant Augustiner. The food was delicious.
However, we ran into some rude Italians. They tried taking photos of me (when I was in my dirndl), but they were terrible. It was on selfi mode and I could see his phone with me just on the screen. I glared at them and they started laughing.
“You could have asked.” I said.
“We are Europeans.” One laughed.
“That doesn’t give you the right to be rude.”
We proceeded to move to a different room.
The thing is, if they asked to have a photo with me, I would have said yes, but their male egos and being “European” made them completely idiotic A****.
I apologize to all the nice Europeans, but that is what this boy (I use this for the complete lack of disrespect he had) said.
People wear their traditional outfits to other occasions, not just Oktoberfest/ the month of Oktoberfest; however, during this season you will find people wearing it around town and to work. I was privileged to go to a luncheon with my German friend that had traditional Bavarian food and everyone wore the traditional outfit.
The thing with the dirndl is that it is supposed to be tight and; therefore, eating and breathing is a bit difficult. I normally have a healthy appetite, but with the dress, I didn’t really eat that much.
We ended up looking up last Oktoberfest’s numbers and in this article was a list of major things and funny things that were “lost.” Typical things: phones, wallets, keys, etc. But also, a book, a sick note for work saying he/she would be at Oktoberfest, and a man showing up saying he lost his “old lady” (in German, meaning his wife). We had a good laugh.
I had a great time in Munich during Oktoberfest and if I have the opportunity to go again, I will. I hope you enjoyed this post and that it gets you excited for your own Weisn experience!
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