Top 10 German Phrases for Oktoberfest

But first, a little background on German Oktoberfest traditions. Oktoberfest first started out with the marriage of King Ludwig I of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen in 1810. To commemorate the event, the citizens of Munich were invited to celebrate the royal marriage in the fields outside the city. In honor of Princess Therese, the locals renamed these field's Theresienwiesn or "Therese's fields". The name stuck and you may sometimes hear Bavarians refer to Oktoberfest as simply "wiesn" or the fields.

The first Oktoberfest The festivities were such a success with the people of Munich that they decided to hold them again the following year in 1811.

In 1835, the first parade was held during Oktoberfest and since then, the parade has grown into a yearly tradition with people wearing traditional German clothing such as Dirndls and Lederhosen. A procession led by the Munich Kindl and the brew masters of the local breweries make their entrance in this parade and it is quite a sight to behold

As the Germans continued to celebrate Oktoberfest, they began setting up beer stands, food stands and carousels. By 1896, there were no longer beer stands but entire beer tents set up by the local breweries in order to accommodate all of the Oktoberfest revelers. If you visit Oktoberfest in Munich today, you'll be visiting one of the largest festivals in the world. In fact, over 6 million people attend Oktoberfest each year. Many places that have large German communities in the U.S. and the world over also celebrate Oktoberfest as well.

Regardless of where you are celebrating your Oktoberfest, if you really want to make it an authentic event, then there are at least 10 essential German phrases you must know.

1. O'zapft ist!

It's tapped! This is what the mayor of Munich will be yelling as he taps open the first keg of beer at noon on the first day of Oktoberfest. Let the party begin!

2. Ein Bier, bitte! or Eine Runde, bitte!

A beer, please! or A round, please! Let's face it, beer, food and friends are the main reason you are at Oktoberfest. If you want to order beer at Oktoberfest, you had better not leave home without this phrase.

3. Ist dieser Platz frei?

Is this seat free? Unless you plan on standing all day, this a must learn German phrase you should learn before you head off to Oktoberfest.

4. Was kostet es?

How much does that cost? You'll be using this phrase a lot at Oktoberfest, so make sure that you also refer to this post about German numbers so that you know how many Euros to shell out when it comes time to settle the bill for all those rounds of beer.

5. Wo ist das WC?

Where is the bathroom? With all the beer you'll be drinking, here's another phrase you'll glad to know.

6. Schunkeln

This is what you'll be doing as you continue to drink into the evening. So, don't be alarmed when the German next to you locks arms with you and begins swaying side to side as you both begin to sing and chant the following phrase:

7. Zicke, zacke, zicke, zacke, hoi, hoi, hoi!

This is the chorus to the German drinking song, "ein Prosit!" Germans sing this song while Schunkeln and raise their beer stein, Prosit! and take a drink. Learn it, love it and have fun with it.

8. Prosit!

The German way of saying "cheers", it is pronounced "prrrrr-oast" with a rolled "r".

9. Der Boot

First, let me clarify one thing about this phrase: there is a difference between der Boot and das Boot. Das Boot refers to a boat, der Boot refers to the 48oz, beer filled, boot-shaped Stiegl that you and your friends will be passing around at Oktoberfest. Don't get this confused unless you want inquisitive looks from the waitresses as to why you want to drink a boat.

10. Wieviel Uhr ist es?

What time is it? At some point you'll have to go back to your hotel and sleep so you can get up and do it all over again tomorrow.

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