National Congress Theme: Oktoberfest

Article written by our wonderful, Eugenia Pappathanassiu. Images taken from Google Images. 

Oktoberfest, which is held annually in Munich, Germany, is the world’s largest ‘’Volkfest’’ which includes a traveling funfair with loads of food and activities as well as the world renowned beer festival. This year, Oktoberfest is 207 years old and still going strong.

Here are some interesting facts that you may not know about Oktoberfest:

1. The first Oktoberfest was actually a wedding reception.

In 1810, the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig celebrated his 12th wedding to princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen and invited all the people of Munich to attend. The newlyweds had so much fun that they opted to make their anniversary a yearly occurrence.

2. Bavarians call festival faders ‘’Bierleichen’’ i.e. the German word for ‘’Beer Corpses’’.

With Bavarian brews containing around 6-8% of alcohol and being stronger than the average German concoction, dehydration and passing out are prevalent.

3. War and disease got in the way of Oktoberfest 24 times.

Cholera epidemics in 1854 and 1873 and all the years of World War 1, World War 2 and the Franco-Prussian War were without celebrations.

4. If the name of the festival were a little more specific, we’d be calling it ‘’Septemberfest’’.

Yes, that’s right. Oktoberfest actually starts during mid-September and finishes right at the beginning of October.

5. Albert Einstein once worked there.

The theoretical physicist worked as an electrician at some point in his life and offered his services to set up one of the tents in 1896.

6. Paris Hilton is banned from there.

In 2006, the heiress attended the festival in a short dirndl (the traditional Oktoberfest attire for women) and wreaked havoc by promoting a brand of canned wine without any prior consultation with festival organizers whilst heavily intoxicated.

7. The lost and found boasts a variety of items.

Allegedly between 4000-5000 items are lost each year including passports, wedding rings, tickets to concerts and soccer matches, children, a Segway and a set of dentures.

8. The knot on the pinafore of a woman’s dirndl determines her status.

Beware of chatting up a woman whose knot is placed on the right; it means she’s either married or unavailable and you’re in trouble. A knot on the left means she’s single and ready to mingle.

Style tips:

Women tend to wear the traditional dirndl dress. If you don’t have one of those, a peasant blouse, a loose-fitting knee-length skirt and your grandmother’s frilly apron should maximize your authenticity. Men and women can also wear the traditional lederhosen which is a pair of brown leather shorts with suspenders that hold them up and a checkered shirt underneath. Bavarian hats, also known as Tyrolean hats, are widely worn. If all else fails, wearing any beer or German related outfit would certainly suffice at an Oktoberfest themed party.