READ TIME 3 MIN – We are counting down the weeks to the Holiday Season while it’s still Octoberfest Time … or, is it?
The name might be slightly misleading, but one of the most known German traditions celebrated world-wide, the Oktoberfest, actually begins in September and only lasts until the beginning of October. The world’s largest folk festival originally started out as a horse race more than 200 years ago. Nowadays, the “Wiesn” has become one of the most popular traditions in the heart of Munich with several festival tents that host visitors from all around the world. Guests can experience typical alpine brass band music, savory and sweet German food specialties (including classics that you can also find at the Christkindlmarket, like Bratwurst, Pretzels, roasted almonds, Leberkaese) and – of course – the regional beer served in 1 Liter beer steins.
When you go to the Oktoberfest, expect to see many people in Dirndl and Lederhosen. Did you know that the way a Dirndl is worn, indicates the marital status of a woman?
Don’t forget: There are many German communities and organizations, like the Dank Haus and German International School, that allow you to participate in Oktoberfest festivities in Chicago. You can enjoy your favorite foods at these fests to help tide you over till Christkindlmarket starts.
The beginning of October is the time of many celebrations in Germany, one of the oldest being the “Erntedankfest,” which translates to “harvest festival.” Whereas this celebration used to be focused on giving thanks in a religious way, it has become a non-denominational tradition in many regions. This includes the set-up of local fairs, similar to little farmers’ markets with local products and fun activities for the whole family.
Even some daycare centers and schools honor this time of the year and use it to educate children and teenagers on the topics of gratitude and nutrition. A typical symbol of the “Erntedankfest” is a crown, braided out of grain, to represent the end of the harvesting season.
And, of course, October 3rd marks a big day in Germany – German Unity Day – the celebration of the reunion of East and West Germany that happened more than three decades ago. We are so happy to host vendors from the old and new states of Germany, which allows our visitors to get a taste of German food items that might not be quite as popular and known. Have you, for example, ever heard of Soljanka or Rollmops? If not, this year is your chance to give them a try at the Christkindlmarket!
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