Oktoberfest Terminology and Songs

Oktoberfest E1383291477693

Oktoberfest Terminology and Songs

When many people think of Germany there are a few things that come to mind, but one of them is usually Oktoberfest. The world’s largest folk festival (Volksfest) and it’s been taking place since 1810 attracting over 6 million visitors. The original Oktoberfest takes place in Munich (München) and the locals simply call it Wien, because it takes place on the Theresienwiese (a large park/field) in Munich. For many, the highlight of the Oktoberfest are the beer tents set up by the different Munich breweries — a reason you won’t find Schneider Weisse or heaven forbid Becks on the Wiesn. In the tents, the larger ones of which are the size of Canadian Community ice hockey rinks, traditional music and Schlager music is played, beer is drank and people eat traditional foods like Weisswürste (traditional sausage of pork and veal) and Brathendl (roasted chicken). Many of the visitors also sing and dance along to the music. Knowing the lyrics is thus important and a great way to enjoy the festival (see below).

If you can’t make it to the Oktoberfest in Munich, many other cities in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria also have smaller beer festivals that they also call Oktoberfest. Of course there are three other very famous Oktoberfests attracting over a million visitors each and all claiming to be the world’s second largest behind Munich: Waterloo, Ontario, Canada; Blumenau, Brazil; and Shanghai, China.

Bairische Terminologie fürs Oktoberfest

If you’re going to attend an Oktoberfest in the German-speaking world, here is some terminology you’ll need to know. Note in the Hochdeutsch column, I’ve included articles for your info, but if there is no article in the Bairisch, you don’t day it.

EnglishBairischHochdeutsch
the OktoberfestWiesndas Oktoberfest
It’s been tapped!O’zapft is!Es ist gezapft.
Let’s get the party startedAuf gäds!Jetzt geht’s los!
I need a large beer.I brauch’ a Maß!Ich brauche ein großes Bier.
Waiter / Waitress!Bedienung!die Bedienung!
Traditional woman’s dress.
Also a term to refer to a woman
Dirndldas Dirndl
Large pretzelBrezndie Brezel
I don’t care.Des is mir wurscht!Das ist mir doch egal.
I’m thirstyDuàschdIch habe Durst!
sociability / cozinessGemütlichkeitdie Gemütlichkeit
I feel great!I bin so guad drauf!Ich bin gut drauf!Mir geht es so gut.
A half of a roasted chickenHendl / GikalEin halbes Huhn oder Hähnchen
A term for someone who has moved
to Bayern, but is not from there
ZuagroasdaEin Hinzugezogener
Do you understand me?Host mi?Verstehst du mich?
radishRadider Rettich
I’d like to drink something. (beer)I mog tringa!Ich möchte etwas trinken.
That’s just the way it is.Jo mei!Das ist halt so!
Cheers!Prost!Prosit!
One, two, three, drink up!Oans, zwoa, drei – Gsuffa!Eins, zwei, drei – ausgetrunken!
benchBankdie Bank
tableTischder Tisch
mustardSemfder Senf
bread rollSemmedas Brötchen
plateDällader Teller
waiterKäinader Kellner
beerBiadas Bier
potatoEàdäpfedie Kartoffel
good looking / beautifulfeschhübsch
Good dayGriàs G?d!Guten Tag
toiletteHaisldie Toilette
onionZwiewedie Zwiebel

Oktoberfest Food

Here is a great video from Deutsche Welle about what people eat on the Oktoberfest.

Here are a few of the specialities that you’re sure to encounter.

Oktoberfest Food

Oktoberfest Dessert and Drink

I think this is a good place to post these graphics that I made a while back, as Oktoberfest is synonymous with beer consumption. At the Oktoberfest though, you should now that you are only served Hellbier (aka Lager Bier) and no pilsner (Pils). the breweries brew a special beer called Wiesn-Märzen which has a higher gravity (Stammwürze) and alcohol content. Also, at the Münchner Oktoberfest and many others the Hellbier comes in one size — Mass (aka das Maß) or a liter. If you order a Hefeweizen, you usually get it in the traditional 0.5 liter tall glass.

Names for beer sizes in German-speaking countries

Names for beer sizes in German-speaking countries

Saying cheers in German

Saying cheers in German

Now for a few Wiesn Klassiker , or songs you should learn the lyrics too.

Ein Prosit (A toast)

This first song will be played almost every 30 minutes, so even if you don’t learn it here, you’ll probably know it off by heart (auswendig) after your visit.

DeutschEnglish
Ein Prosit, ein Prosit
Der Gemütlichkeit
Ein Prosit, ein Prosit
Der Gemütlichkeit.OANS ZWOA DREI! G’SUFFA!
A toast, a toast
To cheer and good times
A toast, a toast
To cheer and good times.ONE TWO THREE! DRINK UP!

Often the singer will also add “Prost ihr Säcke!” after everyone has had a drink, afterwards the crowd responds with “Prost du Sack” (Sack here meaning sod, but in a friendly manner.)

Fürstenfeld

This song is by the Austrian group S.T.S. and dates back to 1984. It’s definitely one of my favourites and reminds me a little of Lynyrd Skynard’s “Sweet Home Alabama.” It’s about a musician who goes from his home in Fürstenfeld, Styria, to Vienna, only to realize that the big city isn’t for him.

There are many local references, which I’ve included below. I’d like to thank Alexander at Oktoberfest Songs for his work in translating these songs.

Deutsch (Dialekt)English
Langsam findt der Tag sei End und die Nacht beginnt
In der Kärtnerstrassn, da singt aner “Blowin’ in the Wind”
Hat a grünes Röckerl an,steht da ganz verlor’n
Und der Steffl , der schaut owi, auf den armen SteirerbuamDer hat woll’n sei Glück probieren in der großen fremden Stadt
Hat glaubt, sei Musik bringt ihn auf’s Rennbahn – Express Titelblatt
Aus der Traum, zerplatzt wie Seifenblasen, nix is blieb’n
Als wie a paar Schilling in sein Gitarrenkoffer drinWochenlang steh i schon da,
Wochenlang plag i mi ab
I spiel mir die Finger wund
Und sing sogar “Da kummt die Sunn”Doch es ist zum Narrischwerd’n,
Kaner will mi singen hör’n
Langsam krieg i wirklich g’nua,
I frag mi, was i da tuaDa geht den ganzen Tag der Wind,
Nix als Baustellen, dass ka Mensch was find’t
Die Burenhäut’ln sind ein Graus
Und im Kaffeehaus brenntst
di ausI will wieder ham, fühl mi da so allan
I brauch ka große Welt,
i will ham nach Fürstenfeld

In der Zeitung da habn’s g’schrieb’n,
Da gibt’s a Szene, da musst hin
Was die wollen, das sollen sie schreib’n,
Mir kann die Szene g’stohlen bleib’n

Da geh’i gestern ins U4
Fangt a Dirndl an zum red’n mit mir
Schwarze Lippen, grüne Haar,
Da kannst ja Angst krieg’n, wirklich wahr

I will wieder ham, fühl mi da so allan
I brauch ka große Welt,
i will ham nach Fürstenfeld

Niemals spiel i mehr in Wien,
Wien hat mi gar net verdient
I spiel höchstens no in Graz,
Sinalbelkirchen und Stinatz

I brauch kan Gürtel,
i brauch kan Ring,
I will z’ruck hintern Semmering
I brauch nur das bissel Geld
Für die Fahrt nach Fürstenfeld

I will wieder ham, fühl mi da so allan
I brauch ka große Welt,
I will ham nach Fürstenfeld

Finally the day finds its end and the night begins
In the Kärtner Street someone sings “Blowin’ in the Wind”
Dessed in green, stands there totally lost,
And the Steffl, it looks down, on the poor guy from StyriaHe wanted to try his luck in the big strange city
Belived that his music would put him on the front page of the Rennbahn-Express
The dream was burst like a bubble, nothing is left
Except a pair of Schillings in his guitar caseFor weeks I’ve stood here,For weeks I’ve labored
I play my fingers raw
And even sang “Da Kummt die Sunn”But it just makes me crazy,
Nobody wants to hear me sing
I’ve finally had enough,
I wonder what I’m doingSince the wind blows all day,
Nothing but construction sites to be found
The bockwurst sausages are a horror
And the coffee houses charge way too muchI want to go back home, I feel here so alone
I don’t need a big world, I want to go back home to Fürstenfeld

In the newspaper they’ve written,
There there’s a music scene, you’ve got to go
What do they want by writing that,
The whole scene can stay lost to me

Yesterday I went to the U4
A girl started to chat to me
Black lips, green hair,
It can be scary, that’s for sure

I want to go back home, I feel here so alone
I don’t need a big world, I want to go back home to Fürstenfeld

Never play again in Vienna,
Vienna doesn’t deserve me,
At most I might play in Graz,
Sinalbelkirchen and Stinatz

I don’t need the Gürtel,
don’t need the Ring
I want to go back behind the Semmering
I just need a bit of money
For the journey back to Fürstenfeld

I want to go back home, I feel here so alone
I don’t need a big world,
I want to go back home to Fürstenfeld

Explanation of Terminology:

  • Steffl – St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna
  • Styria – (German: Steiermark) A province in Austria
  • Rennbahn-Express – A music and pop culture magazine in Austria
  • Fürstenfeld – A village in Styria
  • U4 – A Vienna nightclub
  • Graz, Sinalbelkirchen and Stinatz – towns and cities in Styria
  • the Gürtel, the Ring – major streets in Vienna
  • Semmering – a mountain in Austria

Joana (Du geile Sau!)

This is probably one of the least politically correct songs, but it gets the crowds going every time. The audience usually add in the lyrics: “Du geile Sau.” (literally: you horny/lustful pig.)

DeutschEnglish
Joana,
geboren um Liebe zu geben,
Verbotene Träume erleben,
Ohne Fragen an den Morgen,Wie ein Stich ins Herz traf mich dein Blick,
Und ich sah, für mich gab’s kein zurück,
Und Dein Wunsch flog mir entgegen,
Doch er machte mich verlegen,
Ein Gefühl, das längst verloren schienJoana,
(du geile Sau)
geboren um Liebe zu geben,
(du Luder)
Verbotene Träume erleben, 
(du Drecksau)

Ohne Fragen an den Morgen danach aha aha
Oh Joana,
(du geile Sau)
Dein Lächeln ist fordernd und flehend, 
(du Luder)

Mit mir all die Wege zu gehen, 
(du Drecksau)

Die ein Mensch allein nicht findet’Ich wohn’ in der Stadt nicht weit von hier’,
Sagtest Du wie nebenbei zu mir,
Und ich sah in deinen Augen,
Die zur Schüchternheit nicht taugen,
Dass Du halten wirst was Du versprichstJoana,
(du geile Sau)
geboren um Liebe zu geben, 
(du Luder)

Verbotene Träume erleben, 
(du Drecksau)

Ohne Fragen an den Morgen danach aha aha
Oh Joana,
(du geile Sau)
Dein Lächeln ist fordernd und flehend,
(du Luder)

Mit mir all die Wege zu gehen, 
(du Drecksau)

Die ein Mensch allein nicht findet,Joana,
(du geile Sau)
geboren um Liebe zu geben, 
(du Luder)

Verbotene Träume erleben, 
(du Drecksau)

Ohne Fragen an den Morgen danach aha aha
Oh Joana,
(du geile Sau)
Dein Lächeln ist fordernd und flehend,
(du Luder)
Mit mir all die Wege zu gehen, 
(du Drecksau)

Die ein Mensch allein nicht findet
Joana,
born to give love,
To live forbidden dreams,
Without questions in the morningYour gaze met me like a stab in the heart,
And I saw, for me there was no going back,
And your desire hit me,
But it made me shy,
A feeling that seemed
long lostJoana,
(you saucy wench)
born to give love,
(you hussy)
To live forbidden dreams,
(you dirty skank)
Without questions in the morning aha aha
Oh Joana,
(you saucy wench)
Your smile is demanding and imploring,
(you hussy)
To come with me all the way,
(you dirty skank)
You don’t find this girl alone“I live in the city not far from
here,”
You said casually to me,
And I saw in your eyes,
Which don’t tolerate timidity,
That you’d do what you
promise
Joana,
(you saucy wench)
born to give love,
(you hussy)
To live forbidden dreams,
(you dirty skank)
Without questions in the morning aha aha
Oh Joana,
(you saucy wench)
Your smile is demanding and imploring,
(you hussy)
To come with me all the way,
(you dirty skank)
You don’t find this girl aloneJoana,
(you saucy wench)
born to give love,
(you hussy)
To live forbidden dreams,
(you dirty skank)
Without questions in the morning aha aha
Oh Joana,
(you saucy wench)
Your smile is demanding and imploring,
(you hussy)
To come with me all the way,
(you dirty skank)
You don’t find this girl alone

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