The Oktoberfest – A Munich tradition tops the export charts
The annual Oktoberfest in Munich has a long history. It traditionally starts with the Mayor tapping the first barrel of beer at 12:00 noon and shouting the time-honoured words ‘O'zapft is!’ (‘It's tapped!’).
In 2013, the festival opened its gates for the 180th time. Known as ‘die Wiesn’ in the Bavarian dialect, the Oktoberfest has even become an export success, with many countries on different continents now holding their own version of the event. Around the world, more and more people are getting together to eat, drink and party the Bavarian way.
Deutsche Welle: Munich's Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest in Brazil
Blumenau may be modest in size but here in the state of Santa Catarina, they certainly know how to party! First held in 1983, the Oktoberfest has proved to be a hit with locals and tourists alike, who flock to the beer tents and tuck in to the hearty Bavarian and Bahian cuisine. The music here is international too – a heady mix of Bavarian brass, Brazilian samba and Latin American fusion, known as axé. The idea for the Oktoberfest, which is now the second largest party in Brazil, topped only by the Rio carnival, came from Blumenau’s city council in a bid to replenish the coffers after two devastating floods, when the costs of repair pushed Blumenau close to financial ruin.
‘Cheers’ in Chinese
‘Gambe’ – that’s Chinese for ‘cheers’, or ‘Prost’, as the Germans say. The word for beer is ‘pijiu’. And that’s really all the vocabulary you need if you visit the Oktoberfest that is held in the former German colony of Tsingtao in the eastern Chinese province of Shandong during August. The Chinese adore their version of the Oktoberfest, staged this year for the fifth time, and are constantly devising new kinds of beer to tickle the taste buds of its 600,000 visitors. For instance, once a chilli-flavoured beer was one of the varieties on tap, advertised with the slogan ‘Lime is for wimps!’ This fighting talk was targeted at the Mexican beer on offer nearby, which is served with a lime wedge.
A knees-up in Namibia!
There’s no place for this kind of experimenting at the annual Oktoberfest at Namibia’s Sport Klub Windhoek. No other Oktoberfest in the world quite manages to capture the authenticity of the Munich original like this one. Here, the food and drink festival only lasts for a day (this year, it is scheduled for 29 October), so it’s a much smaller event with just 1400 visitors last year – though they still managed to drink 2200 litres of beer! But the Namibian Oktoberfest gives the original a run for its money in the gastronomic stakes, with all the hearty Bavarian specialities on the menu that you would expect to find in Munich: schweinebraten (pork roast), bratwurst (herb sausage), brathendl (whole roast chicken) and brez'n (pretzels) And if you happen to have lederhosen or a dirndl – the ensemble of bodice, blouse, skirt and apron worn by the ladies – in your closet, this is a great chance to get dressed up Bavarian-style!
The ‘Germaican’ Oktoberfest
Small is beautiful at the Jamaican version of Oktoberfest in November. Framed by swaying palm trees, Oktoberfest songs are sung, a dance group creates a Bavarian mood with a traditional Schuhplattler folk dance, and there’s a Bavarian fashion show in the beer tent. For entertainment, the Oktoberfest decathlon should not be missed, with contenders demonstrating their skills in a range of traditional Bavarian and Jamaican sports and customs.
All together now: eins – zwei – g'suffa!
In our Community group „Oktoberfeste in aller Welt“ (‘Oktoberfeste around the world’) you can find pictures, impressions and opinions on the Oktoberfest – tell us about your experiences in Munich or in your home country!