Many people don’t know the origins of Oktoberfest, they just use the celebration as a reason to drink. Although, like many German celebrations, there is a lot of drinking going on, the festival has a larger meaning than that. The festival originally started out as the celebration of King Ludwig and Queen Therese’s wedding. It was a seventeen day celebration where people went to eat, drink and be merry. To this day, it is still a seventeen to eighteen day celebration that ends on October third– German Unity Day.
Germany is well known for it’s beer. Oktoberfest, like any other German festival is all about celebrating and being merry. There are all kinds of beer drinking games as well as a beer tasting where people come from all over the world to enter their flavored or homemade beer into the competition. Each year their are more than three hundred different kinds of beer to sample at Oktoberfest.
But beer isn’t the only thing served at Oktoberfest, traditional German Oktoberfest food include items such as bratwurst and sauerkraut, sour cream and cucumbers, beer noodle soup and spazle. These are traditional German recipes that Bavarians have grown up eating. Most of these things most Americans would never eat if they knew what they were, however, it’s part of the experience when going to Oktoberfest.
There are many Oktoberfest foods that are popular that are considered more child friendly. These are classic recipes that you can get most any time of the year but are more to the tastes of children and tourists that visit Oktoberfest. Big, chewy, salted pretzels are not uncommon to see when you are wondering the streets of Munich. These pretzels are made so huge that often times they are put on a string with a large paper napkin behind them so that you can nibble on it all day long. Hot cheese soup is another popular food at Oktoberfest because it is filling, and frankly, what child doesn’t like cheese. The traditional German recipe calls for four different kinds of cheese as well as pork knuckle and broccoli. Although pig knuckle is not something that most Americans eat, it is something that people latch onto because of the delicious bacon flavor that it leaves in the soup.
American celebrations of Oktoberfest are vastly different than those in Bavaria. Americans seem to be largely fascinated with an excuse to drink. Most of the celebrations in the US center around beer and bratwurst. That is the extent that it goes. Anything that can be added to beer is acceptable as well in the United States. It is not the true celebration that it is in Germany where there is more to it than just drinking.