NewsBeer, tent - flirt? The Oktoberfest and its pitfalls

Beer, tent – flirt? The Oktoberfest and its pitfalls

Created: 09/13/2022 Updated: 09/13/2022, 4:21 p.m

People crowd at the Wiesn in Munich (2019). © Tobias Hase/dpa

After a forced break of two years, the largest folk festival in the world is to be celebrated again in Munich. The Oktoberfest starts on Saturday – with the special beer, the special dirndl rules and other confusing peculiarities.

Munich – Oktoberfest – finally! On September 17, for the first time after two years without a Oktoberfest due to the corona virus, the motto on the Theresienwiese was: Ozapft is. A good two weeks should be celebrated as before – and as ever, the festival has its pitfalls. Good to know:


First: The Maß, with a short a. Not the measure or the measure. The measure is the measure of a liter. A certain goodwill applies, the jug filled with 0.9 liters is taken as a measure. The barley juice runs down your throat all too quickly in the musty humidity of the tents – be careful! The beer brewed especially for the Wiesn is particularly strong. Its alcohol content is 5.8 to 6.4 percent with a higher original wort, normal light has about 4.8 percent. One liter contains as much alcohol as eight schnapps, five liter correspond to one bottle of schnapps. It would be expensive: a beer costs 12.60 euros to 13.80 euros.

Ozapft is

For more than 70 years, the Mayor of Munich has been tapping the first keg of beer, shouting “Ozapft is” – and thus opening the festival. Mayor Thomas Wimmer initiated it in 1950. It is said that he drove to the fairground in the car of the Schottenhamel host family and the host had it tapped spontaneously. According to another version, Wimmer’s tapping was planned, as it was a sign of closeness to the people and a new beginning.

beer tent

Main question: how to get in? Best during the week during the day. As before the pandemic, the reservable tables are all but gone in the evenings. However, there are always places that must remain unreserved according to complex rules. Passing tickets to the waitress to get a free table is not a good idea. If she gets caught by the landlord, she’ll be thrown out – the guests possibly with them. Not a good idea either: leave the tent for a stroll and come back later. If the tent is closed due to overcrowding, there is no way back. The beach towel method does not work. If you leave your clothes behind, you may be rid of them. Also because thieves are on the way.


Thieves from home and abroad regularly travel with the international audience. “We’ve had foreign pickpockets at the Oktoberfest for years,” says a police spokesman. “It’s an international festival where a lot of people are in a small space together, some of whom also have a lot of cash with them. Therefore it is attractive to pickpockets. They come on purpose.” For years, pickpocket investigators from various European countries have been supporting the Munich police as part of international cooperation. Because especially when alcohol clouds your attention, you can quickly lose your jacket or handbag. In 2019, police recorded more than 130 thefts and arrested two dozen thieves. So: carry valuables on your body and don’t take off your jacket carelessly. In any case, only bags with a volume of up to three liters may be taken along.


We’ve already talked about the beer and the alcohol content. Caution again: the substance is disinhibiting. In addition, there is the image of the Wiesn as an anarchic orgy of beer, chicken and allegedly immeasurable opportunities for flirting. All this makes some otherwise well-behaved guests go overboard in the intoxication of the party and alcohol. Women are well advised to shove away unwanted hands with a clear no. New this year: the mask. Safely protects against unwanted kissing attempts. In the worst case: call folders. Unless the approach is convenient. Then there is nothing to object to, as long as the rules of public order are observed. Which is not always the case.

Dirndl code

The dirndl shows whether an attempt to flirt could be worthwhile. If the woman wears the bow of the apron on the left, she is free, right means married or in steady hands. Center loop: Virgo. Bow Back: Unclear. Probably not locals, that’s how you usually tie your kitchen apron. Because many women quickly buy the dirndl without instructions, the bow tie rules get mixed up – and create exactly the confusion that they are supposed to prevent.


Anything that is fun is allowed. Scots like to come in kilts, gentlemen in white and blue diamond suits and ladies – traditionally a no-go – in lederhosen. The hat with the stuffed chicken on it just can’t be eradicated, but the T-shirt with “performance drinker” really doesn’t have to be. Anyone who buys a dirndl or lederhosen on their way to the festival and thinks they are wearing real costumes is wrong. The traditional costumes maintained by associations, which vary from village to village, are expensive and often handmade.


It is by no means about several grass areas where the “e” is missing. But only about one thing: the Theresienwiese. But there is hardly any sign of lush grass. The 34.5 hectare area is gravel and criss-crossed by tar paths, which at the festival are called Wirtsbudenstrasse and Schaustellerstrasse. The site is named after Princess Therese of Sachsen-Hildburghausen, who celebrated her marriage to Crown Prince Ludwig – later King Ludwig I – with the people there in 1810. After the proclamation of the kingdom, this should promote a sense of community and alignment with the Wittelsbach family. A highlight was a horse race on what was probably a really green meadow at the time, which was just outside the city gates at the time.


Two canceled Wiesn, what is different now? Officially nothing. The festival takes place as always, without conditions. But it is eagerly awaited how the audience will react. Bookings from abroad are also very good, says host spokesman Peter Inselkammer. He expects a lot of interest from the younger guests in particular. You have to see how the older ones behave and whether there will be family visits with the grandparents. Doctors warned of a high risk of infection at the festival. You will probably see some masks – unlike in the past. dpa

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