Getting to Munich’s Oktoberfest can be quite the ordeal, with all of the world’s beer lovers pining for a mega-pint of that delicious Bavarian nectar. But never fear, not only…
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Some Weird And Wonderful Oktoberfest Traditions
Far from being a tourist-focused beer-a-thon, Oktoberfest Munich is deeply traditional event. An almost sacred occasion to the local Bavarians and Muncheners, they eagerly await September and October each year so they can get together with their friends and family and celebrate their culture. And while they are very welcoming of outsiders, you should be aware of the Oktoberfest customs, so that you don’t offend your beer-loving hosts.
OKTOBERFEST 2023 will be opened by the mayor of Munich
At midday on the first Saturday of Oktoberfest the mayor will hammer the tap into a beer keg (with as few blows as possible), letting the beer flow and proclaiming O’zapf is! He’ll hand the first beer to the Bavarian premier, a 12-gun salute will go off to inform the other beer tents that Oktoberfest has begun, and away we go! But not before…
The traditional getting drunk the night before the festival starts
This is a tradition less held by Bavarians than it is by Stoke Travel. The night before our Oktoberfest campsite swells with beer lovers from all over the world. They are excited to be there, to get to know each other, and so it’s inevitable that there’s a bit of a party – all fuelled by our open and unlimited beer and sangria bar. This inevitably leads to…
The traditional hangover while waiting for the first Oktoberfest beer
You have to get up early on the morning of the opening ceremony and make your way to the beer hall of your choice before the opening time of 9am. Then you can wait in line, so that you can get a table, at which you will have to wait until the keg is tapped by the mayor – so you won’t be having your first beer until after midday. There are some miserable faces in the crowd during this wait, which without exception improve as those first beers start going down.
If you don’t look Germans in the eyes when you prost (Cheers) you’re guaranteed bad sex
Cheersing is serious business, and a great way to ingratiate yourself with your new-found drinking buddies. But if you don’t make eye contact with everybody in the cheers, then you’re in store for some subpar nookie in the future. That said, some might say, at least you’re guaranteed any sex at all!
The traditional buying of more beers than you need
Oktoberfest beers come by the litre, and you better believe that they are stronger than your average beer. Generally speaking, by the end of the first beer you’re properly tipsy and talking to everybody, by the bottom of the second your drunk and dancing on tables. You’ll go missing once you’ve finished your third beer, and at the end of the fourth you don’t know your name or who you are, but somehow you’ll make your way back to camp to drink from the open bar. It’s a miracle.
The traditional outfits of lederhosen and dirndls
See our full article on what to wear to Oktoberfest.
The traditional Bavarian drinking suits are the lederhosen for men – and an increasing number of women – and dirndls for women (men don’t think about it, they won’t let you into the beer halls). The humble lederhosen is a leather peddle-pusher style long shorts (or are they short longs?), matched with a plaid shirt and long socks. You’ll look like an uncomfortable medieval lumberjack. For the ladies the dirndl is a low-cut dress that looks like every medieval lumberjack’s milkmaid fantasy. The dirndl is exceptional at amplifying and enhancing the wearer’s breasticles. You kind of have to wear the outfit when attending Oktoberfest, because it’s tradition and you’ll feel pretty left out if you don’t.
The hairier the hat the wealthier the wearer
Another traditional piece of garment to be worn at Oktoberfest is the old Bavarian forest hat. While we can just pick up a smart number from one of the clothing stores around the fairgrounds – or even inside from a kiosk, or from hat sellers who walk around the beer halls – the real deals are family heirlooms that cost in the 1000s of euros, and which are adorned with giant plumes. The bigger the plume, the wealthier the family, so they say. You know how the saying goes, Big plume, big… (wallet).
The traditional riding of the Oktoberfest rides when you have no business riding rides
There is a huge fairground surrounding Oktoberfest, which is where you’ll find the Stokies after far too many beers. The rides range from merry-go-rounds and ferris wheels and kiddy attractions, to fun houses, and full on, adrenaline and vomit inducing, hardcore rides. Also, if you go on Tuesdays the rides are half price. Happy days!
The traditional snorting of the OKTOBERFEST COCAINE
Ok, let’s just say right now that drugs are super duper extra illegal in Germany and that the German police and Oktoberfest security guards are really good at detecting people under the influence of anything other than beer and/or Jagermeister, and will pee test you then and there and issue pretty hefty fines/ban you from Germany/arrest your high ass. So you may be wondering why the beer halls are full of people, young and old, snorting lines of white powder off the tables, off the back of their hands, off each other’s titties… Well, they’re snorting Oktoberfest cocaine, or Wiesn Koks or Wiesn Pulver, a harmless mix of glucose and menthol, that neither gets you high, nor is it illegal, and as such you can live out all of your German Scarface fantasies without fear of falling afoul of the law.
See our full guide to doing drugs at Oktoberfest.
Oktoberfest music: Oompah music and chicken dances
So each beer hall has a bandstand as its centrepiece, and the guys up there absolutely pump out the tunes – but always the same tunes on repeat. There’s the ubiquitous German cheersing song, Ein Prosit, the 80s German classic, 99 Luftballons, DJ Otzi’s hit, Hey Baby, and John Denver’s Country Roads, among other songs played on repeat.
Marching bands and massive horses
So you might be in the beer halls, and you’re drinking and you’re dancing and you’re having a merry old time, and then you decide to walk outside, to leave or to hit up another beer hall, and you’ll come across dozens of Clydesdale horses pulling huge and elaborately decorated carts and there will be poop everywhere and you will probably get stuck because they’re taking up so much space, and you’ll think, “What is this?” and the answer will be that it’s just another Oktoberfest tradition. We once saw a drunk person eat a poop that had literally just fallen from a giant horse’s bum, so maybe that can become a tradition too.
There’s a crossbow tent
We’ve never been in there, but there is one where people drink beer and shoot crossbows. Safety! There’s also a tent where they roast oxes. There are also plenty of tents devoted to swilling beer and general merriment. Choose your own adventure, we guess.
We think you should come and see some of these Oktoberfest traditions for yourself. Why not come and check out our Oktoberfest packages and plan your trip to come and party with us in Munich!
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