Forget all the stereotypes! Oktoberfest is a global party, a two-week -fueled bash that welcomes millions from around the world. But with its Bavarian roots and booming oompah bands, you might wonder: is this wild celebration just for Germans? Prost to curiosity because we’re diving into the heart of Oktoberfest to answer that question and show you why everyone’s invited to the party!

What is Oktoberfest?

Oktoberfest or ‘Wiesn’ (Local dialect) is a fifteen to seventeen-day folk festival held annually in Munich. The fest kicks off in the third week of September and ends on the first October Sunday. The locals dress in traditional costumes, men in Lederhosen and women in dirndls, roam across city gates (during the annual Costume parade on the first day), and enter the historic ‘Theresienwiese.’ Local brass bands dressed up in Lederhosen and ornate horse riders add a traditional essence to the parade. Oktoberfest Munich offers a range of festivities from Bavarian drink and traditional culinary specialties to amusement rides and funny local games. Wiesn translates the Bavarian traditions to non-Germans, preserving its rich history and heritage for forthcoming generations. 

Brief History of oktoberfest: Where did it Come From?

With a 200-year history, Oktoberfest was first held on October 12, 1810, as a Royal marriage of Prince Ludwig I of Bavaria with Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. The five-day celebration ended on 17 October 1810 with a horse race. Bavarian loved the festivities and decided to hold Oktoberfest every year. The marriage venue became the official oktoberfest site, which is locally known as ‘Theresienwiese.’ Since then, Oktoberfest has been held annually with the exception of twenty-eight cancellations for different reasons such as cholera outbreaks, wars in the 1860s, and World Wars; the most recent was canceled in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, Oktoberfest sees around 7 million visitors annually from across Germany and beyond. From horse race to becoming the biggest fest in the world, Oktoberfest has been a trademark of Bavarian traditions.

Traditional Costume for Oktoberfest: Lederhosen and Dirndl

The official costume for men is Lederhosen (le·?der·?ho·?sen). The leather breeches come in vintage brown, black, or gray color shades and have knee-size or sometimes shorter lengths. The traditional attire is crafted entirely from leather fabric and comes with matching Y, H, or X-shaped suspenders. The leather pants have a Bavarian special front flop or bib embroidered with Bavarian motifs that add a traditional flair to the tracht. Bavarian complements the dress with traditional shoes, ‘haferl,’ special Bavarian stockings, ‘loferls,’ traditional alpine ‘Tyrolean hat,’ and a checkered shirt. The Lederhosen men’s costume has become a signature outfit for Oktoberfest, enjoying attention from local and international attendees.

On the other hand, women traditionally wear ‘Dirndl.’ The tracht comes in three three-piece combinations of a cotton batiste-made blouse, silk or velvet bodice with laces, silk or linen-made skirt, and a front layer of an apron. Bavarian women really know how to decorate the outfit with a perfect hairstyle, necklace, hand bracelet, leather-made handbag, super comfy shoes, and classy makeup. The dirndl-wearing women elevate the classic feel of the fest and narrate the story of Bavarian womanhood to the world!

Oktoberfest Tents, Bavarian Cuisine, Amusement Parks and Oide Wiesn

Oktoberfest is called ‘Beerfest’ because around 6 million liters of German-brewed beer is consumed during the fest annually. Following the Munich purity law,. Beverage is served in giant tents that are sponsored by major breweries in Munich. The beautifully decorated tents (14 larger, 21 small) are central to Wiesn as each tent offers a different ambiance to its guests. Traditional Bavarian cuisine like Hendl (roasted chicken), Pretzel, Weißwurst (White sausage), Obatzda (Sweet Creamy cheese spread), and many more are served with alpine herbs and spices. The Bavarian delicacies complement the ambiance with their unique taste, which is a testament to Bavarian culinary traditions. 

Oktoberfest not only offers meaty delights but also takes care of your excitement. The bustling amusement park at the side of the tents allows visitors to lower their drink in style. Not only this, Oide wiesn was introduced to preserve the cultural heritage of Oktoberfest. Isn’t it fun raising a prost (Bavarian toast) with every beat of oompah music?

Is Oktoberfest only limited to Bavarians?

While inherently a Bavarian cultural fest, Oktoberfest has crossed borders with its crazy fandom worldwide. People from all over the world visit Munich Oktoberfest to experience the world’s craziest public party. Around 15 to 20 percent of Oktoberfest visitors yearly come from the United States (12%), France (4%), Switzerland (12%), Italy (12%), Australia (7%), and other European states. Non-German visitors also adorn traditional attire and blend with locals to celebrate the region’s culture in absolute Bavarian style. Imagine an Italian wearing a Lederhosen trying to order a drink in an Italian accent and singing “Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit.” Funny, right? Well, that’s one side of Oktoberfest.

Is Oktoberfest Culture Inclusive?

Oktoberfest Munich is absolutely culturally inclusive, welcoming guests from different nationalities, cultures, and ethnicities. The beauty of such a festival lies in collective respect towards other cultures and in spreading collective harmony. Though the Wiesn is a tradition in Bavaria, the locals love to mingle with outsiders to promote their heritage and extend their loving arms to other cultures. If you plan to visit Oktoberfest this year, try a Bavarian outfit, learn some German phrases, and show respect towards the host!


Still wondering, is Oktoberfest only a German affair? Absolutely not! Although the festival is inspired by traditional Bavarian culture, it is now celebrated worldwide, and people of different nationalities are encouraged to attend the event. It is an opportunity to glimpse Bavarian traditions, breathe in Bavarian air, taste the great food and toast to life with Bavarian warmth and hospitality all in one hall.

Regardless of whether you’ll be toasting the drink in an enormous Oktoberfest tent or merely savoring the Oktoberfest mood, the event is truly remarkable. So buy Lederhosen and come singing those German phrases you learned in school (like “Ein Prosit!” which is Cheers!) and be part of the biggest party in the world.

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