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Global Cheers: Oktoberfest Festivities Worldwide

Oktoberfest may have originated in Munich in the early 1800s, but it is now celebrated in communities worldwide. So hopping on a plane to Germany isn’t your only chance to attend this exciting event. As leaves fall and the crispy cool air of autumn arrives, so does this grand festival, which now celebrates Bavarian culture with massive amounts of beer and carnivals in many different regions of the world.

Some things are common in the Oktoberfest celebrated worldwide, such as beer, German dirndls, men lederhosen, live music, community, dancing, and celebration. However, some Oktoberfest locations might surprise you! 

From Tokyo to Ohio’s Cincinnati, come along as we explore how different countries celebrate Oktoberfest in their own ways:

  1. Cincinnati Oktoberfest | American Blocks Bustle with Bavarian Bliss 

The largest Oktoberfest in America, as well as the second largest Oktoberfest event in the world, takes place in Downtown Cincinnati. Beginning in 1974 and continuing for nearly 50 years, this festival attracts around half a million people yearly. It starts with the Running of the Weiners, in which dachshunds costumed as hot dogs race to the finish line. In 1994, Cincinnati Oktoberfest held the Guinness Book of World for the largest chicken dance in the world. Just picture how hilarious 48,000 participants doing the chicken dance would have looked! If you’re planning to attend, be prepared for a weekend full of fun games, sauerkraut, pretzels, chicken dance and lots of beer.

  1. Brazilian Beats & Bavarian Bites| Blumenau’s Unique Oktoberfest 

The Oktoberfest at Blumenau, also known as Blumenau Bierfest, was created in 1984 to recover the town’s morale after the tragic flooding. This Bierfest is also inspired by the Munich Oktoberfest. However, the difference between these two arises in the fact that the Brazilian Oktoberfest incorporates elements of Brazilian culture along with German ones.

 In order to appeal to the Brazilian audience, it features Brazilian music like samba and forró in addition to German music. This fusion of German and Brazilian cultures creates a unique Oktoberfest experience that attracts local and international visitors.

  1. Canada’s Gemütlichkeit Gathering | Kitchen-Waterloo’s Oktoberfest

The twin cities of Kitchener and Waterloo have held the Oktoberfest every year since 1969. The general theme of Oktoberfest is Gemütlichkeit, which refers to the sense of coziness, warmth, and friendliness. This warm and welcoming atmosphere is a prominent factor of the Canadian Oktoberfest. 

Bavarian feast and even Dogtoberfest are included in this Oktoberfest celebration so even furry friends can join in the fun! We should also appreciate the efforts of the volunteers who make this festival run smoothly, as these festival celebrations in Canada rely heavily on volunteers. 

  1. Tokyo’s Oktoberfest | A Taste of Germany in Japan

Contrary to the Munich Oktoberfest, which lasts around 16-18 days, the Oktoberfest in Japan only lasts for a few days or a maximum of a week. There is no shortage of diversity here as people from Shangai to even Singapore come to attend this celebration of German beer, German food, and German culture. 

Beers from Germany, such as Erdinger, Kostritzer, Krombacher, Paulaner, and many others, are served at these festivals in Japan. As with all other festivals, the entrance to Oktoberfest in Japan is free, but each beer costs around 1000 yen. If you want to partake and fully enjoy the festival, we suggest dressing up in colorful German Trachten to fit the theme. 

  1. London’s Oompah Extravaganza | Oxford’s Street Oktoberfest Delight

Londoners always stay caught up in partying, and the London Oktoberfest at Market Halls on Oxford Street is nothing short of a huge Bavarian-style party. Although it can’t replicate the exact grandeur of the original Oktoberfest, it still maintains its German counterpart’s charm and vibrant energy because of the amusing comedy, lively music, and German cuisine. With a live oompah band and DJs, the musical atmosphere incites the Londoners to dance their hearts out.

  1. Brisbane’s Oktoberfest | Where Australian Cheers Meet Bavarian Beers!

In 2008, the Brisbane-based German-Australian festival directors Kim and Boris Zoulek started the Oktoberfest in Brisbane, Australia, which immediately led it to be Australia’s largest Oktoberfest celebration. Over the past few years, around 2 million bratwursts and 1.5 million pretzels have been consumed at this festival. Well, Australians do eat a lot!

A fascinating point to note is that many people in Brisbane, Australia, have ancestry dating back to Germany. This is the main reason that Oktoberfest, featuring its beer tents and attractions, is celebrated in Brisbane, where there is lots of bratwurst eating, oompah music, dancing, and overall great fervor.

How did Oktoberfest Spread Beyond Germany’s Borders?

Oktoberfest began to be celebrated in other countries primarily by the German diaspora. These people migrated from Germany to other countries, such as the USA, Japan, Australia, etc, mainly for work reasons. So naturally, they took their culture, including celebrations such as the Oktoberfest, along with them to the new countries they shifted to. 

This is how Oktoberfest started being celebrated in different countries worldwide. At first, only the immigrants attended it. Because of its lively atmosphere, it gradually gained attraction among the natives, which kept this fantastic festival alive through thick and thin.