Can you already smell the sauerkraut, beer, and pretzels?

You smelled right! Because Oktoberfest is right around the corner.

Starting at the end of September, the greatest beer festival of all time will kick off in Munich, Germany. But you don’t need to be in the region of Bavaria to celebrate it.

Are you celebrating Oktoberfest this year? Take a look at 4 Oktoberfest traditions you might’ve not known about.

1. Munich Beer

Did you know that Bavarians actually refer to Oktoberfest as “Weisn”? And at Weisn, you can’t drink just any type of beer.

According to Oktoberfest history, the beer you drink must follow Reinheitsgebot rules. The following six local Munich breweries adhere to Reinhetsgebot:

  • Spatenbräu
  • Paulaner 
  • Staatliches Hofbräu-München
  • Augustiner-Bräu
  • Löwenbräu
  • Hacker-Pschorr-Bräu

If you’re not drinking beer from any of these breweries, it’s not Oktoberfest.

Not the biggest fan of beer? You can try a refreshing Radler (beer-lemonade) instead.

2. Bavarian Grub

All that beer can work up quite an appetite! What kinds of food can you satisfy your taste buds with at Oktoberfest? 

For starters, big, soft, and salty pretzels make for the ultimate snack. Eat them plain or dip them in Bavarian sweet mustard or ketchup. 

Bratwurst and other sausages also make for filling snacks. Weisswurst is a white sausage that’s popular during Oktoberfest.

When it comes to mealtime, think meat and potatoes. Schnitzel, chicken roast, and stew galore! For dessert, you can eat a giant gingerbread heart with your name frosted right on it.

3. Dirndl & Lederhosen

Oktoberfest history and traditions would be nothing without its world-famous attire. Dirndl and lederhosen are traditional German clothing worn during Oktoberfest. What’s this traditional Oktoberfest attire all about, anyway? 

The men wear lederhosen, a pair of knee-length, overall shorts made of leather. They also wear leather shoes, high wool socks, and large felted and feathered hats. In Munich, the bigger the hat, the wealthier the individual.

Women have always worn the traditional dirndl during Oktoberfest. You’ve likely seen them worn around as costumes at Halloween. Contrary to popular belief, a dirndl is not supposed to be short and revealing.

The dirndl may feature a tight waistband. But the skirt itself typically flows outward and falls right below the knee. 

It’s also not uncommon for women to braid their hair during Oktoberfest.

4. German Folk Music, Dance, & “Ein Prosit”

Aside from Bavarian grub, lederhosen, and dirndls, what are some other Oktoberfest traditions?

If you’ll be celebrating in a beer tent this year, chances are you’ll hear “Ein Prosit” every 20 minutes. No matter which tent you’re in, you’re bound to hear it, every 20 minutes on the dot.

You’re also bound to hear plenty of German folk music. No German folk band is complete without an accordion and tuba player. Neither is one complete without some German folk dancing.

Here are some examples of traditional German folk dances:

  • Rheinländer
  • Schuhplattler
  • Zwiefacher

These individual and group dances are not hard to learn. Knowing some basic polka dancing before Oktoberfest rolls around can suffice.

Celebrate All the Best Oktoberfest Traditions This Year

The countdown to Oktoberfest is officially on! In a few months, people from all over the world will clink steins and sing “Ein Prosit” at the biggest party on earth.

But what if you can’t make it all the way to Munich, Germany this year?

You can still celebrate Oktoberfest traditions no matter where you are. Cook up some bratwurst at home and enjoy the company of your friends and family. Better yet, celebrate together at an Oktoberfest event near you. 

Curious where you can find the best Oktoberfest celebrations this year?

Head on down to Nashville, Tennessee for one of the biggest Oktoberfest events in the US. Set in the historic Germantown neighborhood, Nashville Oktoberfest is an event you won’t want to miss. Learn more about it today!