“The beauty of the world lies in the diversity of its people“
Oktoberfest is just around the corner. The first memories of Oktoberfest are coming back to me. And each of them are absolutely wonderful!
This is a second blog among a series of three blogs aimed at addressing German Oktoberfest. If you missed out the first blog, please refer to the link below:
First look into Oktoberfest
Two years ago, I visited Oktoberfest with a group of friends. As every other non-native person, to me it was a name that was widely popular. And yet, unaware of what was up for me.
Since it was a weekday, it was just easy to reach Oktoberfest main entrance with less rush than usual. We entered the venue after a routine security check. The first thing I noticed was colors all around. From dresses to stalls to the amazing rides, I wanted to try everything! And the environment was absolutely surreal!
I had never been inside a tent that could possibly contain around 3000 people and another 1000 people outside the tent. There was live music playing inside the tent and I was not particularly sure what was it at first. After the first beer was over, I learned about the type of music played during a small talk with a local visitor at our table. It was the Schlager music, a form of traditional music out of the many. I could not understand the music back then due to my limited German language skills, it was still fun to party with friends!
We relished on a well roasted tasty chicken or as they call it Hendl in Bavaria, and it was time to dance. Within no time, there were people standing on benches, enjoying music, beer and simply the beauty of the fest. There are also people selling traditional and fun hats, glasses and balloons, giving it an extra festive touch. We left the tent to get some fresh air after experiencing an amazing party of lifetime.
Glimpse of Oktoberfest, beside beer tents
Fun fair is an integral part of Oktoberfest. Along with thrill rides such as roller coasters, ferris wheel, devil’s wheel, toboggan, the fair hosts flea circus, games, street performers and bands. I was thrilled to try different things and win small gifts from the games.
Sampling Bavarian dishes is a good way to pace beer intake. Local delicacies such as Hendl (half or whole spit-roasted chicken), Haxn (pork knuckles), Schweinebraten (roast pork), Steckerlfisch (grilled whitefish on a stick), Würstl (sausages), Knoedel (dumplings), Brezen (pretzel) and Brotzeit (snacks consisting of meats, cheeses, radishes and bread) are readily available throughout festival grounds. It is indeed a gastronomic paradise for meat lovers.
As the festival comes to an end, it’s a tradition to carry some tangible memories with you. Festival organizers release a commemorative Oktoberfest Stein for sale. The ceramic mug comes with or without a lid and features the official logo for that year. Another favorite souvenir is the Lebkuchen (Gingerbread necklace) strung with a ribbon and decorated with German phrases.
And Oktoberfest ever since then
Ever since the first time, I take every opportunity to experience Oktoberfest with different groups of people. If a friend visits during this time, this is a great event to experience. I also had an opportunity to visit the fest with my colleagues. And there is no better place to bond with them, especially if you are new and shy to interact. It’s an ideal event to engage with colleagues at a comfort level and enjoy.
Each time doesn’t have to be in the tent. Simply walking around, enjoying the things happening outside the tents is fun in itself.
When my parents visited me last year, they too knew much about the event. It was only obvious that visiting this fest had to be on their to do wish list. Although my mother is a strict vegetarian and doesn’t consume alcohol, both my parents had a great time. They relived a lot of memories from their youth by simply enjoying the rides and the food.
Experiencing Oktoberfest together with locals gives a broad insight on the culture. It not only helps to experience the culture but also broadens our understanding of the event through history.