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12 Must-Know Oktoberfest Sayings in German and Bavarian

Beer, barmaids and sausage.

That’s the stereotypical German trio associated with Oktoberfest. However, there’s a lot more to the famous German holiday than most people think.

If you plan on attending Oktoberfest—or if you’re just brushing up on your knowledge of German social life and culture—there are some essential Oktoberfest phrases and sayings you should know.

In this post, we’ve included traditional Bavarian sayings, colloquial expressions and some basic but essential German phrases you’ll need for a fun and comfortable celebration.

Contents

What Is Oktoberfest?

The first Oktoberfest was celebrated at the wedding of Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese on October 12, 1810.

If you know a bit of German, you’ll remember that das Fest means “a celebration.” And since the festivities took place in the month of October, it was decided that in subsequent years, the citizens of Munich would celebrate what would come to be known as Oktoberfest.

However, since October is usually a cold month, the date was moved up to September. The year 2010 marked the 200th anniversary of the first Oktoberfest.

You’ll learn much more about Oktoberfest with these 12 key phrases!

1. Das ist mein erstes Oktoberfest.

“This is my first Oktoberfest.”

This one-use-only phrase might earn you a spot at the beer tent benches—and a free round, if your peers are generous enough.

2. Ist hier noch frei?

“Is this spot taken?”

It’s always polite to ask if you can sit down next to someone. Introduce yourself while you’re at it!

Just don’t save seats, because any free seats that haven’t been reserved are first come, first served.

3. Wo is’ns Haisl?

“Where is the bathroom?”

Smart Oktoberfest-goers will know how to ask this question well before it’s time to relieve themselves of the vast amounts of beer they’re likely to consume.

4. O’zapft is!

“It’s tapped!”

Shortly after the first keg of the year’s Oktoberfest is breached, this Bavarian phrase follows. It’s a bit like saying, “Cut the cake!”

5. Oans, zwoa, g’suffa!

“One, two, drink!”

This phrase is like a cheer or a chant. The first hours of Oktoberfest might start out with this phrase, but by the time you’re a few beers in, you’ll probably be voicing the next phrase aloud a lot more often.

6. Noch ein Bier, bitte!

“Another beer, please!”

Attending Oktoberfest is an experience all its own, but serving at Oktoberfest can be very rewarding as well. You get to meet a lot of great people, make them happy serving them beer and dress up for the occasion!

7. Wo haben Sie ihre Dirndl/ihren Lederhosen gekauft?

“Where did you buy your Dirndl/Lederhosen?”

The traditional clothes of Oktoberfest, Dirndl and Lederhosen, are what most people associate with Germany. If you think about it, Oktoberfest is really an homage to the first few celebrations as much as it’s about reveling and consuming local beer.

8. Trinken Sie Hacker Pschorr, Hofbräu, Paulaner, Spaten, Lowenbrau oder Augustiner?

“Are you drinking Hacker Pschorr, Hofbräu, Paulaner, Spaten, Lowenbrau or Augustiner?”

In America, we have our well-known beer brands. So does Germany.

Some of these brewers even have their own tents, with an Oktoberfest experience all their own.

9. Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit.

“A toast to cheer and good times.”

This is actually both a phrase and a song that accompanies beer drinking. With only four words to memorize, it’s a pretty simple tune to add to your repertoire.

At Oktoberfest, you’ll often hear the similar, shorter expression: prost (cheers)!

10. Wollen Sie mit mir auf dem Riesenrad fahren?

“Do you want to ride on the Ferris wheel with me?”

There are a lot of amusement rides you can go on with your friends—new and old. Oktoberfest isn’t just about the beer!

11. Ich lade euch ein.

“This one’s on me.”

Oktoberfest is a great place to meet new people. If you’re feeling particularly generous, try this phrase. Just make sure you’ve got some cash on hand to not only pay your waiter/waitress, but also to tip them. It’s not easy carrying all those beer mugs.

12. Pfiat Eich!

“Goodbye!”

Yes, you could say “Auf Wiedersehen,” but a special occasion demands a unique phrase.

Use this short saying to end the night with a flair of dialect. Native German revelers will appreciate the sentiment!

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Why Learn Oktoberfest Sayings?

Whether or not you’re able to attend the true Oktoberfest in Germany, knowing some Oktoberfest sayings is a great way to build your German.

  • If you visit Germany during Oktoberfest, you’ll want to have a few phrases memorized. The local German population will appreciate that you’ve invested time in understanding Oktoberfest.
  • Learning more about Oktoberfest and other German celebrations benefits your overall fluency. Alongside grammar and your typical everyday phrases, knowing what to say around Oktoberfest means you’re rounding out your knowledge of the language.
  • Some of the above phrases are in Bavarian, which is a dialect of German. This is great for your cultural knowledge and can help you go well beyond textbook German. Try to focus more on pronunciation and the “gist” of what they mean. This will fast-track your communication abilities if you’re planning to use these phrases in real life.

 

There you have it! Pick from any of these 12 phrases the next time you find yourself at an Oktoberfest celebration.

And if you’re able, attend the proper Oktoberfest in Germany to see what all the hype is about.

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