Wiesn, which is what Münchners call Oktoberfest, officially started this weekend. It’s the 200th anniversary of Oktoberfest this year. Well, technically, this is only the 177th time Oktoberfest has taken place, but as a tradition is started 200 years ago.
Also notable is that for the first time, smoking has been banned from the Oktoberfest tents. Bavarians voted on this law a few months ago, making it the strictest anti-smoking regulation in Germany (there are more aspects to the law, but the most publicity I’ve seen has been in relation to Oktoberfest, probably to let visitors know about the Rauchverbot – no smoking).
Why is Oktoberfest called Wiesn? Wiesn is a Bavarian word for “field” because the first Oktoberfest in 1810 was held in the Theresienwiesen – Theresa field – as part of the wedding festivities for Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Theresa.
One of my friends asked me this about Oktoberfest:
“Do many people were traditional costumes?”
Absolutely – but here in Bavaria, especially where we live, it’s not at all unusual to see the locals wearing their traditional Bavarian clothing (Dirndls for the women, Lederhosen for the men) during the year. Of course, people who work at the festival tend to dress up in their traditional clothing, and many people who visit the festival do, as well. Before the festival gets underway, many of the shops and department stores in Munich offer Trachten (the costumes) and have displays in their storefront windows.
Here’s a fun factoid about Dirndls:
Buas (boys), if you’re looking for a Madl (girl) at Oktoberfest, pay attention to how a lady has tied the bow on her apron. If the bow is tied on the left, then she is available (“Schleife links, Glück bringt’s! ” – Bow on the left brings you good luck!). To the right, then sorry, she is taken (likely married). In the middle means the Madl you have your eye on is perhaps unsure of her status.
If you’re looking for tips on finding the perfect Dirndl for celebrating Oktoberfest, this article has some good suggestions such as: choose cotton because you can just throw it in the wash, don’t have a floor-length Dirndl because it will get dirty and anyway, the Kerls (guys) appreciate a bit of leg. 😉
For those of you who are German speakers, you can learn some Baierisch (Bavarian) words you might hear at the Oktoberfest in this little online Oktoberfest Lexicon. Or if you prefer, check out what the Wiesn Horoscope has in store for you!
For German news about Oktoberfest, you can read articles online here:
Because baby Budlet is due to arrive any day now, we won’t be going to the festival this year, but how fun that we will have an Oktoberfest baby!