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Oktoberfest Traditions: Cheers to the Weird and Wonderful!

“Partying it up at brew-tiful Oktoberfest!”

Have you noticed the sounds of flowing beer pints and folk music increasing in your head recently? Have you been dreaming of grilled sausages, chickens, and giant pretzels while sleeping? Did everything start sharply in September, and the “symptoms” are progressing? If your answers are yes, it’s the chronic shortage of vitamin O – Oktoberfest! The German festival is a worldwide phenomenon celebrating Bavarian culture.

Don’t panic! Sit back, relax, and exhale. There is a cure – today, we will take on a big journey with the planet’s biggest kegger and will show you how to experience Oktoberfest’s magic. *jazz hands*.

Oktoberfest can be an exciting event to experience Bavarian culture. Still, it can be hectic and challenging to navigate for the innocent and uninitiated one, especially after a few (many?) liters of Lowenbrau. Thus, let us help you to know a whole buncha stuff you didn’t even know you needed to know about Oktoberfest traditions!

Read on! And Prost! 🍻

Oktoberfest Traditions: Oktoberfest banner with beer and pretzels on the table

The History of Oktoberfest

“Sorry, I’m at Oktoberfest right now…Alcohol you later.”

The first Oktoberfest thing to mention for the newbies – despite its name, it’s not in October. Gotcha! After last year’s first post-COVID fest, Oktoberfest once again returns September 16 – October 3, 2023 for 18 days of joyous beer swilling.

Oktoberfest celebrations can be found all over the world, but the main event is in Munich, Germany, where the first Oktoberfest was originally held.

It dates back to 1810, when the Bavarian king threw a great public wedding reception for his son, the future Ludwig. The king invited the citizens of Munich to attend the celebration on the fields outside the city gates. What we know today as the Theresienwiese. Who doesn’t like parties, hah?

It was such a hit that they decided to do it again the following year. And the next, and the next. They incorporated more horse races, tree climbing, bowling alleys, carnival booths, parades – everything that seems fun and perfectly matches gallons of beer. Since Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany has only gotten bigger and bigger, becoming one of Europe’s best-known festivals.

Oktoberfest Traditions & Party Guide 

“Just contri-brewting my part to Oktoberfest festivities…”

Well, you are planning a trip to THE biggest beer festival in Germany (actually, the world!), eh? Or are you going to throw a fancy party at your apartment? Think Oktoberfest, think beer? True, but that’s not even half of its story. Before you head to the tents or invite friends to your place, meet our little party guide for those who want to have a fantastic time while celebrating. It’ll make your first sip of Bavaria’s finest taste that much better.

Good luck, mugs up! 

Arrive in style – Regardless of how German you are, traditional Bavarian clothes are always welcomed and appreciated. (We hope that at this point you’ve paused reading this blog and run to dust off or order the fanciest lederhosen and dirndls ASAP.) It’s part of the Oktoberfest cultural experience! By the way, what a party without dressing!

Join Oktoberfest opening and closing ceremonies – Unless you’ve already found yourself drinking in a beer tent. DON’T FORGET TO EAT!

Enjoy some delicious beer and toast to Gemütlichkeit (the cozy and convivial atmosphere) – While the ceremonies and parades are fun, inside the beer tents is where the real action is. A million liters of beer are consumed every year. You do want to contribute, don’t you? There are plenty of non-alcoholic beverages as well. If you don’t drink… At Oktoberfest… (No beer lovers were harmed while writing this sentence….only a couple of them fainted). 

Make new friends! Don’t be shy, see point 3. It’s common to sit with strangers at Oktoberfest, and totally not creepy. Take a seat at any table, dive into the conversation with a clink of the glass and a hearty shout of “Prost!”

Listen to traditional folk music – Don’t miss the chance to listen to a massive outdoor concert of brass bands and traditional alphorns. (I hope you are not at the point where you’re straight drinking out of your shoe.)

Be sure to say “Prost!” raise your beer, salute your neighbors over the table, and don’t forget to return their greetings as well.

Dance (as if nobody sees you) – Did you come all this way not to partake in the fun?  Have you always dreamed of showing all your dancing skills? Oktoberfest is the place. It’s absolutely okay to dance on the benches, but not on the tables. 

Try some delicious Bavarian food like a local – Oktoberfest tents have a ton of delicious traditional Bavarian cuisine that will be some of the best food you’ve ever had. Caution: your diet may be in danger! Although we don’t believe in any diets at Oktoberfest. 

Go on rides – The festival has many rides, including some terrifying roller coasters. Thus, be sure you are not afraid of height and see all five fingers on the hand after a couple of beers and a Bavarian soft pretzel.

Oktoberfest Traditions: Woman in traditional Oktoberfest garb serving beers

Prost! To the 6 Best Oktoberfest Beers

“I’ve got 99 problems, but a beer ain’t one…”

Well, it wouldn’t be Oktoberfest without a stein or two. Let’s be honest, the real main character of Oktoberfest is the beer. Nectar of the Gods, some call it. Beer at Oktoberfest is sold exclusively by the liter in mugs known as maß (mass). They’re huge, they’re heavy, they’re bright. Like dragons are attracted to gold, Oktoberfest visitors are attracted to shiny beer mugs. Don’t let that light color and smooth drinkability trick you!

The beer rules at Oktoberfest are simple but, yeah, strict. Oktoberfest traditions dictate that Munich’s six major breweries are the only ones allowed to serve pints at the main event. These breweries are — Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu, Löwenbräu, Paulaner, and Spaten. 

Augustiner. With an alcohol percentage at 6.5 per cent, it’s the strongest of the Oktoberfest beers. The Augustiner is soft and feels good in the mouth, and has an amazingly crisp and clean flavor.

Hacker-Pschorr. This beer has a little bit of everything; all flavors. With a warm amber color and a sweet hop aroma, this legendary Oktoberfest beer is light, delicious and truly authentic.

Lowenbrau. Löwenbräu Original is slightly dry, with a trace of malt and delicately bitter. 

Paulaner. Looking for one of the best Oktoberfest beers? You can’t do much better than Paulaner. Paulaner is said to be the most popular lager in Bavaria. It is lighter than in 2013 and a typical Munich sweet lager. 

Spaten. Spaten is a smooth lager with a light taste and golden colour. The floral hops and faint toffee aroma come together in harmony to serve up a deliciously bright beer. Lingering, long after the beer is finished, is a grainy and hoppy dryness that leaves you wanting more.

Hofbrauhaus-Munchen. Hofbrau Original is bursting with fruity malts, caramel notes and fine hops. It is almost as dark as the Hacker-Pschorr, and at 6.3 per cent, it’s almost as strong as the Augustiner.

Whether you end up with a Spaten pint or some brewery classic, you are sure to find something you love. If beer isn’t your favorite but you still want to celebrate Oktoberfest, there are lots of delicious drinks to sip. And don’t forget about Oktoberfest food!

Party Foods To Get You In The Bierest Mood

“Gluten Tag! Eating pretzels for breakfast, lunch, and dinner today…”

Oktoberfest food, it’s the wurst. It’s also the pretzels. And the roasted chicken, potato pancakes, and a whole bunch of food that you can try in the nearest tent or cook at home while gathering an Oktoberfest party.

Each of the Oktoberfest beer tents offers its own special traditional Oktoberfest food. Under the carnival lights and with a few liters of beer in you, the food at fests are the most delicious things you’ve ever eaten!

Disclaimer: The following list of Oktoberfest food may cause increased appetite. It is not recommended to read when you are hungry.

Pretzels! – The number one Oktoberfest food. Nothing goes better with a giant-sized beer than a salty, soft Bavarian pretzel that’s also the size of your face.

Wursts (especially currywurst) – It’s not Oktoberfest without German sausages. Everyone loves currywurst! As everyone loves Ryan Gosling in the new Barbie movie. There are countless wursts to choose from at Oktoberfest, with sweet mustard, horseradish, and fried onions on top. Currywurst is typically served with plenty of fries (and a salad sometimes) so that every drop of the curry sauce doesn’t go to waste!

Kartoffellanzen (Spiralkartoffeln)  – These potato spirals are delicious “eat on the go” snacks. Something between french fries and chips, they are cut into a spiral shape and handed over to you on a wooden skewer. 

Reibekuchen (Kartofelpuffer) – Fried potato pancakes are definitely a “must-try meal” at Oktoberfest! 

Apfelstrudel – The famous apple strudel is a very delicious meal. It is usually combined with an ice cream or vanilla sauce. Most of the tents serve it as a dessert at the Oktoberfest.

Roasted Chicken – It is one of the most popular meals at the Oktoberfest. They are always freshly grilled at the Oktoberfest and seasoned with different spices, perfectly matching with beer. 

Gingerbread hearts – They do look delicious, and you could eat them. However they are mainly seen as a cute souvenir you can take home. These cookies will survive the journey back home in your suitcase and remind you of the magic time spent at Oktoberfest. 

With all of its wonderful activities and atmosphere, Oktoberfest continues to be one of the world’s greatest places for fun and enjoyment. It is a wonderful opportunity to meet and party with friends and family, colleagues and clients, and sometimes, or even often, with total strangers. It doesn’t matter where you celebrate it: in Munich or in your cozy apartment. There is always a place for fun, beer, delicious food, and gifts. Adding a few Oktoberfest traditions and food to your home celebrations makes them all the more special!

Oktoberfest Gift Ideas: Find Something Special For That Special Beer Lover In Your Life 

The whole world seems to come to Bavaria for the folk festival of the year. Unfortunately, not everyone can participate. But does it mean that the party is over? Absolutely no. Can you bring a little Oktoberfest feeling home? Sure. Pull out your lederhosen or dirndl and get ready to sing Bavarian songs with your fellows anyway, drunkenly. 

To add a bit more of celebration you can browse our collection of gifts for those who are far away from you this year. 

For the people in your life for whom Oktoberfest lasts all year long. Check out our Beer Gift Baskets here.

For those people who like to be the boss and have the freedom of choice, explore our Gift Certificates. 

You can even build your own Beer Gift Basket according to the wishes of your recipient! 

Here you go! Now that you know what you’re going to gift your friends & family this Oktoberfest, what are you waiting for? Shop online! And cheers!

You’ve learned about Oktoberfest traditions and food, now what?