Exploring German culture in Wisconsin

Lisa Michajlova, International Editor

Oktoberfest was celebrated in Chippewa Falls Sept. 19-21. Everyone could enjoy pretzels, dances like polka or clothing including Dirndl and Lederhosen. It was a great event to attend with children or with friends, and learn about Bavaria since many people in Wisconsin have German ancestors.

The first Oktoberfest took place in 1810 in Munich, Bavaria. The first great fest celebrated the wedding of King Ludwig and Princess Therese. It has become the biggest fair in the world with 6.5 million visitors annually. In honor of the princess the fairground is named ‘Theresienwiese.’ Since the first fair was really successful and a lot of people liked it, it was repeated every year and became bigger and bigger.
A really important thing about Oktoberfest is that it does not have a lot in common with German culture in general. It is only Bavarian, Bavaria is a state in Germany, which does not mean that everybody in Bavaria wears Dirndl, Lederhosen and drinks beer. It is just really old traditional things, which are known as being Bavarian and so, German. The only purpose of this fest is entertainment, it does not really say something about Germany or German culture.
The Memorial High School German Club and class also tries to participate in those activities or traditions by learning about the culture, which is mostly Bavarian. Since the original Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany takes place every fall, this is one of the most important topics to study in German Club or German classes.