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5 Oktoberfest Traditions You Can Enjoy At Home

Sep 30, 2020 02:12PM ● By Kaitlyn Malone
The sound of polka music, the taste of a cold beer, the feel of lederhosen, and the smell of a freshly made pretzel are enough to make us think of one thing, Oktoberfest!

Celebrate the first weekend of October! This year since most community Oktoberfest festivities will not occur due to the novel Coronavirus, we must take some initiative to celebrate Oktoberfest in our own homes!

It’s easy! Start with the food and music, and if you are feeling it, break out the lederhosen and dirndl (the traditional dress for ladies). If you don’t happen to have those lying around, look up traditional Bavarian attire and pick out items from your closet that match as best you can, like a pair of shorts and suspenders for gents, and a skirt and apron for the ladies with traditional braided hair.

And after you have had a stein full of some German beer and some homemade sauerkraut and bratwurst, you will most likely be in the mood for a yodeling competition and the traditional Chicken Dance!

The Food

The first step in getting into the spirit of Oktoberfest is with the food, of course! Start with making pretzels for a tasty fun activity at the start of the festivities. Check out a German-style Pretzel recipe here from King Arthur Baking CompanyNext, move on to the Würstl, which refers to a variety of classic Bavarian sausages. Try them sautéed in a skillet with bacon and apple sauerkraut. Don’t forget the mustard! Most of the dishes will be served with plenty of mustard, and if you want to try some delicious local specialty mustard, try Fox Hollow Farm’s mustard. You can check it out at The Woodstock Farmers Market. Depending on your preferences, you can choose from a variety of traditional Bavarian dishes. Here is a link to a list of classic Oktoberfest recipes.

The Music

Music is an essential tradition in celebrating Oktoberfest. The classic music accompanying your celebration should be any sound akin to the polka, yodeling, and Oompah! It’s lively and fun music that will surely bring a smile to your face. Put polka on while you dance around your kitchen and make the food! Either go on youtube and look up a playlist like this one,, or pull out that old Oompah record, and as the night goes on, you’ll find yourself singing along to “Edelweiss.”

Beer & Drinks

Drinking beer from a stein is such an iconic part of Oktoberfest! If you don’t like beer or don’t drink alcohol, still get yourself a stein glass, the traditional 1-liter steins (33.8 ounces) and fill it with your favorite cider or root beer. For those of you who do enjoy a beer- this is your time! Pick up some beer at your local breweries in Hanover like Sign Of The Horse brewery. See their beer list here. Fill up your pint with your beer of choice and let the festivities begin! Don’t forget to say “Prost!” which means “Cheers!” when you raise your glasses together. 

The Chicken Dance

Yes! The Chicken Dance is a classic Oktoberfest activity. You know you know it. You dance to a fast-paced, catchy song while imitating a bird. The song that a Swiss accordion player-created one dances to in the 1950s by the name of Werner Thomas. In the 80s, the song and dance became a staple worldwide after being broadcast on tv at the Oktoberfest in Tulsa, Oklahoma. After your fantastic meal during your home celebration, put on the song, and have a little dance party. The best Chicken Dance enthusiast gets the last pretzel!

The Outfit

Wearing the appropriate attire is a key element in creating an authentic Oktoberfest experience at home. Women wear an outfit called dirndl, which entails a blouse and bodice and a full skirt and maybe an apron. The lady’s hair is usually in pigtails or a braid wrapped around the head. The man wears the iconic lederhosen, including suspenders with shorts, long socks, a shirt, and a hat. You can find some traditional photos online and do your best to match. Dressing for the occasion will add to the spirit.

Happy yodeling everyone!

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