Oktoberfest in Germany: It’s Not Just About the Beer

Oktoberfest in Germany: It's Not Just About the Beer

foreign-correspondent badge finalOktoberfest in Germany is the biggest party in the world. In 16 days, it brings in 6 million people who drink 7 million liters of beer. And while it’s clear that people go to Oktoberfest to drink beer, in the end, that’s not what the festival is really about.

I moved to Germany only a few short months before Okotoberfest began. Though I was too late to book any accommodations, I was in luck. My good friend Kelly, an international teacher in Croatia, had booked everything nearly a year prior and there was an extra spot for me.

By the time Oktoberfest rolled around, I still hadn’t made many friends in my new hometown so I was excited about hanging out with Kelly and her fellow teacher friends. Over the next few days, I discovered what Oktoberfest really means.

oktoberfest in Germany
Not just about the beer!

It’s about meeting people. It’s about the simple interactions of strangers meeting for the first time at this monumental event. There’s just something about wearing a lederhosen in a giant decorated tent, dancing on benches singing along to German classics, and drinking a liter of Lowenbrau while sharing a giant salted pretzel that really brings people together.

That weekend, I got to know Kelly’s friends very well. Michelle was from Seattle and taught in the Dominican Republic for 3 years before accepting a job in Zagreb because she had always longed to be in Europe.

It’s about meeting people. It’s about the simple interactions of strangers meeting for the first time at this monumental event.

Samantha was from Chicago and just moved from Saudi Arabia to Zagreb because she had trouble meeting men and was ready for a change. Tom, from my hometown of Denver, had been living in Croatia with his wife for 10 years, and they loved it!

Beyond teachers in Zagreb, I also met many others. I met Eastern Germans who shared their roast chicken with me while I heard their memories of school-enforced Russian classes. I met a group of French men working at BMW in Munich, who spoke with British accents because of their time spent abroad in London.  I met a newlywed couple from Amsterdam who were spending their honeymoon in Munich.

I met a group of French men working at BMW in Munich, who spoke with British accents because of their time spent abroad in London.

I really loved the open-minded and nonjudgmental physical closeness of the festival. People didn’t mind getting cozy on benches tightly packed together to have a beer and share their stories. The greatest part was that I walked away with interesting knowledge of the country I’m now living in, new travel destinations across Europe, Facebook friend requests, and the realization that Oktoberfest is the best social club in the world.

So while drinking (too many) steins of beer at Oktoberfest was an added bonus, in the end, that’s not really what it was about.

Prost!

 

 

Oktoberfest in Germany: It’s Not Just About the Beer

About Melissa Shock

Melissa ShockMelissa Shock quit her job and moved to Germany to experience life abroad. Read more about Melissa’s travels here.

2 thoughts on “Oktoberfest in Germany: It’s Not Just About the Beer

  1. Melissa
    Melissa
    November 16, 2013
    Reply

    Thank you so much for your kind words!

    I have heard of that island, but had no idea about the horse wagons. That sounds amazing! I’ll have to look into that for next spring/summer.

  2. Avatar
    Evelyne Kusnezov
    November 15, 2013
    Reply

    Melissa,
    You were born to be a reporter.
    I have enjoyed every paper that you wrote.
    Always,funny,witty, informative,knowledgeable about history, geography and customs of the various countries that you visit.I have watched on the dw.de channel (German as you know) an island Neuwerk (?),off Hamburg, where you can go with horse wagons only at low tide.And they find amber on the beaches.
    Fascinating!!! Never stop traveling!

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