Don your lederhosen and dirndls! Strike up the accordions and clarinets and DIY your own Oktoberfest celebration this fall with good German food and gemütlichkeit! Prosit!
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A glossary of Oktoberfest terms
- Dirndls | A traditional feminine dress which originated in German-speaking areas of the Alps. Developed during the 18th century, based on the traditional clothing of Alpine peasants, dirndls today are generally considered the traditional dress for women and girls in the Alps. Dirndls often have particular designs associated with different regions.
- Gemütlichkeit | This word doesn’t have a direct English translation. It is a heady mix of coziness, cheerfulness, friendliness, and social acceptance. This feeling encompasses the atmosphere of a successful Oktoberfest.
- Lederhosen | Short or knee-length leather breeches that are worn as traditional garments in some regions of German-speaking countries. The longer ones are generally called Bundhosen or Kniebundhosen. Once common workwear across Central Europe, these clothes—or Tracht—are particularly associated with Bavaria and the Tyrol region.
- München | The German name for Munich. The city is the capital of Bavaria and the third largest city in Germany behind Berlin and Hamburg.
- Bayern | Known as “Bavaria” to English speakers, Bayern is the largest of the 16 German Bundesländer (states) with its capital in Munich (München).
- Lebkuchen | A honey-sweetened German cake or molded cookie that has become part of Germany’s Christmas traditions and regional fairs. It is similar to gingerbread. The lebkuchenherzen — the more specific name for heart-shaped lebkuchen — are popular at Oktoberfest.
- Prosit/Prost | At Oktoberfest it is polite have a toast before drinking. Your neighbor at the table will often say “Prost” or “Prosit” (meaning “cheers”) or “Zum Wohl” (meaning “to your wellbeing”) while clinking glasses with everyone in reach.
More about Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest: Definition, History, Facts — Britannica | Oktoberfest is an annual festival in Munich, Germany, held over a two-week period and ending on the first Sunday in October. The festival originated on October 12, 1810, in celebration of the marriage of the crown prince of Bavaria, who later became King Louis I, to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. Read more…
10 Oktoberfest Traditions: Frommer’s | Believe it or not, there’s much more to Oktoberfest than beer. From chicken dances and sing-alongs to giant pretzels and gingerbread necklaces, these traditions at Munich’s favorite fall festival go beyond the brew—though there’s plenty of that, too. Read more…
Favorite Oktoberfest Recipes: Taste of Home | Looking for more Oktoberfest food recipes? Celebrate with these German recipes, including sauerbraten and spaetzle, that will fill out your Oktoberfest menu. Read more…