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Oktoberfest – The Wiesn

Congeniality, party fun, dirndls and folk music all signify Munich’s event of the year: Oktoberfest. And the most important drink on the Wiesn is, of course, the Oktoberfest Bier®! In Munich, beer is regarded as liquid nourishment. The distinguished brewing tradition and quality of this beer has made Munich famous across the globe.

A crowd magnet

Oktoberfest fever breaks out every September. During Oktoberfest all of Munich feels the excitement of the world’s largest party with visitors flocking to Munich from across the world. Once Oktoberfest fever has taken hold, it is very difficult to shake off. During the two week period, every third Oktoberfest visitor goes to the Wiesn at least eight times.
The famous Paulaner Oktoberfest Bier® is served in three large tents: the Paulaner “Winzerer Fähndl” festival hall, the Armbrustschützen festival hall and Käfer’s Wies’n-Schänke. Paulaner Weissbier can be found in the wine tent. Download our Wiesn map to discover the Wiesn in depth.
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about the Oktoberfest

The talking Wiesn dictionary

Tourists flock to Oktoberfest in Munich from all over the world. Yet even northern Germans find it hard to understand the Bavarians. Our little dictionary for Zuagroasde, i.e. non-Bavarians, might be helpful. Simply click on the words to hear them pronounced. Have Fun! Without a doubt, Bavarian is more than a dialect, it is a language of its own. So that you are able to negotiate your way through the two weeks of the Oktoberfest and communicate in the sexy Bavarian dialect, here’s our Wiesn dictionairy for Zuagroasde, i.e. all those non-Bavarians from all over the world. A Busserl (kiss) is guaranteed.

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    Eating and drinking

    Brezn(n) Bavarian pretzel. Strand of dough artistically wound to form a lye bread. On the Wiesn, the enormous, over-sized pretzel is preferred.
    Obazda A Bavarian cheese delicacy with Camembert, onions, paprika, caraway seeds, butter and sometimes even beer; available in various beer tents at the Oktoberfest.
    A hoibads Hendl bitte. I’d like half a chicken please.
    Oans, Zwoa, Gsuffa. One, two, down the hatch. (The toast used on the Wiesn.)
    Semmegnedl A bread dumpling made with salt, eggs and parsley

    Lewakaas Leberkäse (meat loaf)
    Brotzeit Similar to a ploughmans; basically a snack consisting of bread, cold cuts of meat and cheese eaten throughout the day. Important components of a Brotzeit are Brezn, Obazda, Radi and Leberkäse (meat loaf).
    Oa Bia A litre of beer
    Semmel Bread roll
    Schmanggal Any speciality

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    Pretty girls and tight lederhosen as far as the eye can see, all these visual
    attractions soon bring on a case of flirting fever. A happy person is therefore
    one who knows how to gather kisses and telephone numbers instead of Watschn
    (a clip around the ear). Obandln or flirting is a natural part of the Wiesn.

    obandeln Flirting
    Fesch bist’ You’re pretty
    Scheene Aug’n host You have beautiful eyes
    A fesches Madl A beautiful girl
    Host du vui Hoiz vor da Hüttn You’ve got a nice pair
    Is da no frei Is this seat free?

    Dirndl A girl or a type of traditional dress
    Busserl Kiss
    blinsln To wink
    Bua Guy
    Gaudi Fun
    I mog di I love you

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    Other words and phrases for your Wiesn visit

    Wos host g'sogt? What did you say?
    Obacht! Watch it!
    Waiwalaid Women
    Mingga Munich
    Ja mei ... Oh well ...
    Bsuffa Drunk
    Drehwuarm Dizziness

    Pfiad Eana Bye, see you later
    olle zwoa Both
    Schädlwä Headache
    Oba, zoin Waiter, we’d like to pay, please.
    Biagriagl Beer mug
    I bin ogschdocha I’m drunk
    So a schmarrn That’s not true

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    The secret Wiesn dress code:
    The dirndl bow code

    A bow tied on the left hand side:
    She’s still available. In this case flirting is still allowed or even desired!

    A bow tied on the right hand side:
    Hands off! Or think twice about it. Unfortunately, she’s already taken.

    A bow tied at the back:
    She is either a Wiesn waitress, or a widow.

    A bow tied in the middle:
    She’s still a virgin.

The Wiesn album

How to party on the Wiesn, Swaying, dancing and singing.


The Oktoberfest magnificent twelve

Our Oktoberfest top twelve. Why do we celebrate the Oktoberfest? Is Oktoberfest Bier® really stronger? Did you know that the Oktoberfest was originally a wedding celebration? These Oktoberfest facts are truly interesting!

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    The world’s greatest folk festival

    The Wiesn is the world’s greatest folk festival and breaks attendance record every year. A record-breaking quantity of almost 7 million litres of beer was served at the 200th Wiesn Jubilee in 2010. In just two weeks, about six million visitors spend close to 830 million Euro in the city. The world’s largest brass band concert also takes place on the second Wiesn Sunday every year. Around 300 musicians from the tents play in front of the Bavaria statue.
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    The Wiesn tapping: O’zapft is!

    Oktoberfest opens with the tapping of the first barrel of the Oktoberfest Bier® by the current Lord Mayor of Munich and the cry of “O’zapft is!” (“It’s tapped!”). Then a twelve gun salute sounds from the steps of the Bavaria statue. That is the signal for the other tent proprietors to start serving. In 1950, it took Lord Mayor Thomas Wimmer a legendary 19 blows (still unbeaten) while the current Lord Mayor Ude is the record holder with only two blows.
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    It’s a hearty life on the Wiesn. The Wiesn offers a large number of Schmankerl (delicacies) such as Haxe, Hendl, Ochse, Steckerlfisch, Radi (radish), Obazda (dressed cheese) or Würstl.
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    The Oktoberfest Bier®

    The breweries in Munich brew a special beer for the Oktoberfest: the Oktoberfest Bier®. An average of 6 million litres of Oktoberfest Bier® is poured for visitors every year. The Paulaner Oktoberfest Bier® is a pale, bottom-fermented beer. The original gravity, a measure of the strength of a beer, of the Oktoberfest Bier® is greater than that of other lager beers. Its alcohol content of 6 to 7 per cent is also greater than that of a normal lager beer.
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    The old Wiesn

    Nostalgia is a perennial hit: the historical old Wiesn. The traditional part lies to the south west within view of the Bavaria statue and the Ruhmeshalle (Hall of Fame). It is the site of the historical beer tent with its traditional Bavarian music, the Herzkasperlzelt tent, the velodrome and antiquated fairground rides.
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    The parade of the Wiesn tent proprietors

    This has been the official prelude to Oktoberfest since 1887. The Wiesn tent proprietors and showmen parade with their majestic horse-drawn carts through the city centre out to the Theresienwiese. The parade includes the carriages of the Wiesn tent proprietors, the brewery carts carrying traditional wooden beer barrels, the music bands for the tents and the waiters and waitresses. The parade is traditionally led by the Lord Mayor of Munich in a festival carriage.
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    The first Oktoberfest

    A member of the Bavarian National Guard suggested that the wedding of Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese be celebrated with a big horse race. So, on 17th October 1810 the first horse race and therefore forerunner of the Oktoberfest took place in the Theresienwiese. Since then the Wiesn has used the name of Princess Therese.
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    The citizens of Munich

    Only Munich beer from Munich breweries may be served at the Oktoberfest. These are even listed by name in the “Betriebsordnung zum Oktoberfest” (Oktoberfest Rules and Regulations). This is to ensure that the Wiesn remains a truly Munich-based affair. “Oktoberfest Bier ®” is even a registered trademark which is owned by the Verein Münchener Brauereien e.V. (Association of Munich Breweries).
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    Your waitress is your best friend ...

    Perhaps the most important rule on the Wiesn is: be nice to your waitress! A friendly tone and a tip can work wonders as they will determine how quickly you get your beer and how much. If your Wiesn waitress has taken a liking to you, she may even ensure that you are let in more quickly when you next find yourself standing in a long queue outside a crowded tent.
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    No beer for you in the Wiesn tent without a place to sit

    If you’ve not reserved a box, you should try to get to the Wiesn as early as possible. It’s then easiest to find a spare seat in the middle of the tent. From 5pm on a Saturday, two thirds of the central aisle requires no reservation, and on Sundays and public holidays the whole of the central aisle is free for the taking. If you can’t find a seat you’ll stay thirsty because having nowhere to sit in a tent means you can’t have a beer. The only thing to do is to flirt with those Wiesn visitors who already have a seat and hope that they’ll squeeze in a bit to make some room for you.
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    Industrious girls and boys

    Around 1,600 waiters and waitresses ensure that the guests are well supplied. Anita Schwarz from Upper Bavaria holds the record for carrying beer mugs. This Wiesn waitress can carry 19 litres of beer in a distance of 40 metres and put them down again without spilling a drop.
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    The folk costume and sharpshooter parade

    The first parade took place in 1835 in honour of King Ludwig I and Therese of Bavaria on the occasion of their silver wedding anniversary. The folk costume parade, which has taken place on a regular basis since 1950, has become a core component of Oktoberfest and is broadcast live on TV around the world. Around 9,000 participants present a variety of bright costumes, customs and folk dances. Not only do they include Bavarian associations, but also groups from around Germany and Europe whose costumes and bands make the parade so unique. The parade runs from Maximilianstrasse, through Munich city centre and out to the Oktoberfest meadow.

Do you want to know more?

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