Whether you’re a party enthusiast, a hipster or just an ordinary internet user. You’ve probably come across the name, Oktoberfest. For those who don’t know, this is the world’s largest beer festival that happens in Munich, Germany. While its different forms are arranged in many different areas around the world, the main events happen where it all started, here in this Bavarian region. Its history can be traced back centuries to the traditional Bavarian spirit of celebration and hospitality.
Initially started as the wedding celebration of prince Ludwig I and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen, it has now evolved into one of the biggest events of the year to with huge gathering and throngs of people from all walks of life, ages, and nationalities. Everyone is welcome in this transient Bavarian paradise. As this happens only once a year, it can be a “once in a lifetime experience” that is worth putting on your bucket list and crossing it off too this time! Its almost certain that you will come to reminisce about the event as on the highlights of your life.
Our fast paced, day to day life can be very overwhelming and sometimes all we crave for is an excuse to get away for awhile from everything and to be carefree. With increasing social pressures, keeping one’s mind healthy and happy is increasingly becoming a difficult task making us prone to mental illness and the like. We, as modern humans, are increasingly isolated from the people around us. Most of us aren’t even acquainted with our own neighbors. Through this festival, you can feel the true sense of a community of people gathering and just having fun, sharing life and laughing away together. You can feel a true, almost innocent, sense of belonging in the air. One just needs to lock eyes with a stranger and see these feeling affirmed. That’s the true collective feeling of this event.
Oktoberfest gives one the perfect opportunity to unwind and participate in the in this very traditional yet very modern festival. The event at its core is a beer festival and a carnival that mostly lasts for sixteen days. With huge quantities of beer flowing, you’ll never be left with an empty glass. The music and dancing will be sure to keep your spirits up.
As the Oktoberfest has traditionally been a Bavarian event, everything, down to how you dress is in sync with the Bavarian spirit and culture. So, most people attend in traditional outfits. However, as this is a very engaging high-spirited event, it should be taken into account that your Oktoberfest outfit, while still being pretty and traditional, also be comfortable and easy to movie around in.
Dressing up is one of the key facets of Oktoberfest and if you think that you might be the only one dressing up in some traditional outfit, don’t worry, because that is the norm there. In fact, if you skip out on the traditional dress, you will not only stand out but also miss out on the most essential aspect of the event. However, if still don’t feel too comfortable or it’s a bit awkward for you then you can go for normal clothes. Just dress appropriate avoiding t-shirts with slogans or shorts and stuff like that. You can go for a simple shirt with jeans. As most of the people there are either Bavarian locals or people from other parts of Germany, blending in might help to get the authentic vibe of the event. The extent to which you need to dress in a traditional way is totally up to you. You can go for a fusion of modern and traditional outfit or you can take it to the next level by going completely traditional.
The traditional Bavarian garment for girls is dirndl while its male counterpart is called lederhosen. These outfits used to be the norm back in the 1500s and 1600s. in the nineteenth century costume(tracht) parade officially added to Oktoberfest gathering. The traditional costume society was later established which led to the norm of wearing traditional Bavarian clothing. There are different folk groups with their own trachts with different symbols, designs, colors and combinations. You can easily buy these outfits online with a huge range of designs and prices catering to your financial standing. There are in-person stores too and e-bay. So, you need not worry about spending too much out of your budget.
For women, the dirndl is traditional a dress with an apron in the front. As this was traditional the outfit of working-class women, its very practical and comfortable. Today they come in various styles and lengths. The traditional one is usually a long dress which stops just above the knees. While it is very comfortable, it still might restrict some movement when running around and dancing. The other options are a mid-length dress and a short dress that stops above the knee. Most local Bavarian girls wear the mid length one. Its easy to move around in and still preserves the more traditional vibe of the outfit.
One interesting thing about the dirndl that the placement of the bow can signify your relationship status to other people. So, you wear a bow with you apron. The direction of the bow is what reveals all: if the bow is the back, that’s either a waitress or a widow. If its at the left side then you’re single and at the right, it shows you’re taken and if its on the middle of the apron, then it shows you’re either a child or a virgin.
When getting around, the shoes you wear are very important. They should classy but should not restrict movement. Pumps or ballerina flats are a common choice. For people who like heals the so-called dirndl pumps can be very appealing. Another popular option are the leather boots. However, be sure to avoid shoes that expose most of your shoe to avoid any accidental injury. Pair your dress and shoes with some pretty headband, some light jewelry and a cute small handbag and your Oktoberfest outfit is complete.
For men, lederhosen are Bavarian shorts that stop above the knee. The bundhosen are another option. They end below the knee. The lederhosen can be a bit stiff at first and takes some time to break into. So, you can buy one size bigger than yours for ease of movement. Adding suspenders to the lederhosen is a very classic way of wearing this outfit. This is usually paired with a traditional Bavarian shirt which is mostly checkered but does come in solid colors as well. The slim fir look is more popular nowadays. These shirts usually have a hidden button to keep the sleeves up. If you cannot but the traditional style shirt, you can just get a normal checkered shirt. However, avoids t-shirts as it can make you stand out as a clueless tourist.
The traditional Bavarian shoes are called “half shoes”. They are leather shoes with a wooden bottom. If you don’t have these, you can also wear leather hiking boots. However, avoid sandals and other open shoes as they not only look out of place but are a safety issue.
You can add a vest to your Bavarian outfit too. The traditional vest is worn with a belt without the suspenders with lederhosen. Hats can be added to the outfit too. You can wear a traditional Bavarian hat. It can have different types of feathers attached to it too as well as different pins can be added too. You can also add some accessories to your outfit such as the charivari chain or the handkerchief tie around your neck that can add a little flair to your outfit. You should be now ready for your first Oktoberfest.
Oktoberfest has brought people together for more then two centuries and people still show up to celebrate and come together in this event because they know they will take home with them an unforceful experience worth remembering for years to come. The sheer diversity of people one can meet in this one place is alone to convince anyone to come here. So go buy your outfit, book that plane ticket and show up at this Oktoberfest. Enjoy, eat, drink, and dance to your hearts content and discover so much more that’s in store for you!