What To Wear To Celebrate An Oktoberfest?

What is the Oktoberfest when and why is it celebrated?

Oktoberfest, annual festival in Munich, Germany, held over a two-week period and ending on the first Sunday in October. The festival originated on October 12, 1810, in celebration of the marriage of the crown prince of Bavaria, who later became King Louis I, to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen.

Held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, the 16-day folk festival known as Oktoberfest runs from mid or late September to the first weekend in October. At this moment, beer lovers partaking in the event are most likely donning their Lederhos’n and Dirndl to prepare for a full day of fun. Some might say the excitement of Oktoberfest is not worth the intense crowds that flood Munich, or the shameful displays of public drunkenness. I, however, disagree, and although I have unfortunately never attended the festival, it seems there is much to be celebrated and praised in respect to this massively successful event.

What is the tradition of Oktoberfest?

Besides the food and beer, the festival is full of traditional Bavarian music, open-air performances, a grand entry and parades, vendor tents, carnival rides, a shooting competition, and traditional German outfits. The two-week fair wraps up in dramatic fashion with a boisterous brass band and a gun salute.

Why is Oktoberfest so popular?

The answer is Beer!!!!

The most obvious of all the reasons to attend Oktoberfest is of course, the beer! There are many tents to choose from and they all have their own mood and atmosphere. The real question:”Which beer is the best?” The answer: consult this old Augustiner joke…

What countries celebrate Oktoberfest?


The Popularity Of Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest is well-loved around the world, with different countries giving off their own spin on the holiday. In the United States, states with large German-American populations often hold their own Oktoberfest celebrations which draw out huge crowds to celebrate a few days of good food, beer, and local culture. This is in fact the world’s largest beer festival, and Oktoberfest parties are typically celebrated from late September until early October.

Oktoberfest is not only celebrated in Germany but around the world too, with notable examples in the US being Cincinnati (Zinzinnati)and La Crosse in Wisconsin. There are also some countries where breweries partake but do not celebrate with an authentic, official festival.

The largest Oktoberfest outside of Germany is in Canada, in the twin cities of Kitchener and Waterloo, Ontario, Canada (750,000- 1,000,000 visitors), Blumenau, Brazil with (700,000+), Cincinnati, Ohio, United States (500,000+ visitors) and the Denver Oktoberfest Denver, Colorado, United States (450,000+ visitors).

In addition to North America, many other countries have their own Oktoberfest events as noted below:


The National Beer Festival (Fiesta Nacional de la Cerveza) is Argentina’s version of the German Oktoberfest. It has taken place every October since 1963 in Villa General Belgrano, Córdoba. The party emerged by the hand of the first German immigrants. This festival attracts thousands of tourists for two consecutive weekends.


In Australia, the universities are notorious in their celebrations of Oktoberfest every year, and as students graduate and move on, this has rolled over into pubs and restaurants in the university areas.
The Harmonie German Club, Canberra, holds an Oktoberfest over a three day period every year in October. The festival is currently in its 45th year and attracts a large number of visitors from Canberra and surrounding regions.


In Brazil, several southern cities, populated by German people in the 19th and 20th centuries, have their own Oktoberfest, with the biggest Oktoberfest outside Germany in Blumenau, celebrated annually since 1984. There are 18 days of music, dance, and food, commemorating Brazilian ancestors that came from Germany. In 10 days in 1984, 102,000 people (more than 30% of Blumenau’s population) attended and in 1992 more than 700,000. The festival has since grown, with festivals also being held in Santa Cruz do Sul and Igrejinha, Rio Grande do Sul and Rolândia, Paraná.


In Canada, there is an annual nine-day celebration spread over 18 Festhallen in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. It attracts over 1,000,000 visitors annually. While its best-known draws are the beer-based celebrations, other cultural and entertainment attractions also fill the week. The most well-known is the parade held on Thanksgiving Day; as the only major parade on Canadian Thanksgiving, it is televised nationally. (Coincidentally, the closing day of the Bavarian Oktoberfest also lands on the German equivalent of Thanksgiving, Erntedankfest.)

The twin cities and the surrounding area have a long history of German roots; Kitchener was formerly named Berlin. A large portion of the population identify themselves as being of German heritage, and many still speak German as well. A common phrase at the celebrations is Gemütlichkeit, German for congeniality, or warm friendliness. This word is even programmed into the bus route displays, so during Oktoberfest, it will show the route and Gemütlichkeit, or Willkommen.

Another celebration of Oktoberfest is held in Sherbrooke, Quebec annually, at the beginning of October. The one-night event is held by Sherbrooke’s University engineering students’ association. It gathers around 5,000 people.


In Chile bierfests are celebrated in Valdivia, Puerto Octay, Puerto Varas, Frutillar and Llanquihue and Malloco.


In Colombia, it is sponsored by Bavaria Brewery. A series of concerts and events are held along different cities, with special emphasis in those with German background like Bucaramanga.


The Oktoberfest Hannover is a fair which takes place every year at the end of September/beginning of October in Hanover, Germany. It usually lasts 16 days and features 160 rides and inns, two large beer tents seating more than a thousand people each, and numerous stands offering refreshments. With more than one million visitors each year, it is the second-largest Oktoberfest in the world.


The Oktoberfest was started in Hong Kong in 1991. It is celebrated in late October and early November (dry season in Hong Kong) and is hosted by the Marco Polo Hong Kong Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, just next to the Star Ferry pier.

For the festival, the Marco Polo Hotel sets up a traditional tent with long wooden tables and benches with capacity for approximately 1,500 persons to create an Oktoberfest atmosphere. The German Band Die Notenhobler from Ulm, Germany entertains the approximately 85% Chinese audience. Their program starts at 19:30 every night and comprises three parts: traditional German music, games and competitions, party music.

The hotels caters traditional Southern German foods, such as pork knuckle, sausages with sauerkraut and apple strudel or milk-cream strudel (Millirahmstrudel) together with beer (past beer sponsors were 1991-1999 Löwenbräu; 2000-2002 Veltins; 2003 Jever; 2004-2005 Löwenbräu).

In 2005, the festival was held from October 14 to November 3 with some additional dates for private functions, which is popular for staff parties of large corporations.


In Bangalore, India, Kingfisher beer established The Great Indian October Fest in 2005.


In Cork, the Franciscan Well Brewery has an Oktoberfest festival whose dates parallel those of the festival in Munich. Downes Pub in Waterford have been celebrating the Oktoberfest annually since 2002 and their celebration culminates in an evening in October that features German beer-drinking music from the City of Waterford Brass as well as a wide selection of imported German beer. Oktoberfest is celebrated in University College Dublin each year with a Bavarian-themed festival taking place in the Pit next to the Forum bar on campus.


In Mexico, there are several cities celebrating this event, which has grown in popularity over the 19th and 20th centuries. The best known Oktoberfest takes place in the southern part of Mexico City, at the Club Alemán in the borough of Xochimilco. The German and German-Mexican community is a regular, however, the event is also attended by residents of many backgrounds. The celebration is in most traditional German fashion, with the Mexican fiesta kick. Typical German food and keg beer are available. A handcraft market and amusement rides are also set up.


An Oktoberfest celebration is held in the West Bank town of Taybeh, home to the only Palestinian brewery (Taybeh Brewery). The first Taybeh Oktoberfest was held in 2005.


In Romania, the Oktoberfest has been organized in Brasov (Kronstadt in German), Transylvania since 2009, in early September by the Deutsche Wirtschaftsklub Kronstadt, in association with local authorities. Traditional German and Romanian beers, foods and music can be found in each edition. The official website has much more information.


German-Americans are the country’s largest self-reported ancestral group. Correspondingly, there are hundreds of large and small Oktoberfest celebrations held annually throughout the country, the largest being in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Known for its large German immigrant population, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and its historic Pennsylvania Dutch (Pennsylvania Deutsch) population are well known to have many Oktoberfest celebrations during the months of September and October. These celebrations became increasingly popular among the general Commonwealth population in the latter half of the 20th century with the rise of microbreweries, and with the opening of authentic German brew houses such as Hofbrauhaus in Pittsburgh, PA, and Las Vegas, NV.

What To Wear To An Oktoberfest Party To Celebrate In Style?

If you’re headed to an Oktoberfest party this year, it’s important to know what to wear beforehand so that you’ll have a guaranteed good time. In this article, we will discuss how Oktoberfest parties started and why people all over the world celebrate this fun German tradition every year. Plus we’ll give some great style tips for both men and women on what you should be wearing at the next event.

Of course, Oktoberfest is definitely not complete without wearing a costume! The most iconic Oktoberfest costume for women is the beer maid outfit or more widely known as the “dirndl“. This is a traditional outfit that represents the celebration. As for men, the “lederhosen” are optional but highly recommended. These are knee-length leather shorts held up by suspenders. Arguably, dirndls are more iconic than lederhosen, which is why you’ll see more beer maid outfits on beer pubs.

Breaking Down The Dirndl Outfit

If you’re going to an Oktoberfest party this year, it’s important to know the layers of the dirndl costume. Traditional dirndls are made up of a white blouse, a skirt, a waist apron, and a bodice that serves to accentuate the bust. There are different lengths of a dirndl dress for your preference. You can choose between long dirndls or short dirndls. If you’re feeling sexy and adventurous, you can also opt to wear a mini dirndl skirt!

As for footwear, we recommend closed-toe heeled sandals or open-toe heeled sandals. Since Oktoberfest is a day-long event that will surely last into the night, it’s important to be as comfortable as possible. Wear nude stockings to protect your legs and thighs from chafing, and then wear knee-high socks over them to protect your feet.

Also, one very important thing to remember is to know how to tie your apron knot. The knot serves a purpose; it’s to let people know your civil status. If you tie the knot to your left side, it means that you are single, a knot on the right side means that you are taken. A knot in the middle signals that you’re either a virgin or that your relationship status is none of anyone’s business and a back knot means that you’re a widow, server or child.

Although it’s a traditional dress, dirndls are actually a popular choice for Halloween costumes among women as well. So if you’re going to a Halloween party AND an Oktoberfest party this year, you’re already hitting two birds with one stone thanks to the dirndl dress!

Fortunately, there’s no need to look far and wide to get your own dirndl dress. There are affordable high-quality sets available for purchase in an online shop like Etsy from independent creators, or you can also get your own custom-made costume from them too! Dirndls and lederhosen typically go for just under $100 or a little more than that if you want a high-quality one that doesn’t look tacky. A very beautiful dirndl can even go up to $250 or more if you opt for a custom-made women’s Oktoberfest outfit.

Dirndls To Wear To An Oktoberfest Party (For Women)

What To Wear To An Oktoberfest Party (For Men)

As for the men, traditional clothing includes an alpine hat, lederhosen shorts and bavarian trachten shirts (checkered button-up polos). If you don’t have a pair of lederhosen, leather pants are also fine. But if you’d rather go for normal clothes, an Oktoberfest shirt would be fine.


Yes, women can wear lederhosen too! While the traditional men’s costume is a must-have for Oktoberfest parties and beer festivals around the world, it doesn’t mean that women should be left out of the fun. They have their own version which also includes some leather shorts but with an added skirt to give off more feminine vibes.


It’s not really recommended, but if you’ve ever been to an Oktoberfest parade, then you’ve surely seen men wearing dirndls complete with a wig and makeup ensemble. Short answer: Yes, men can! It’s all a matter of having much fun without harming or offending anyone.


Yes, you can, but do take note that most festival-goers will show up in dirndls and lederhosen. If you want to join in on the fun and you don’t want to get left out, show up in a costume!


Unfortunately due to the pandemic, the largest iconic beer festival in Munich is canceled. This doesn’t mean that you can’t celebrate your own Oktoberfest festival, though! There are surely smaller-scale beer festivals happening around the world, so check the internet and Facebook groups to see if there’s one happening near you.

We hope you found this style guide helpful! If you’re still looking for more fashion inspiration.

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