When you’re dressing as a German for a fancy dress party, there are basically two options: you can either go as a Bavarian Oktoberfest reveller, or a Gestapo officer. Don’t worry; we have both options covered here!
Oktoberfest, or Wiesn as the locals call it, is a 16-day beer festival held in Munich each year. It’s officially the world’s largest fair, with more than 6 million people attending every year. It started in 1810 and is a massive part of Bavarian culture, with everything quintessentially German: Oktoberfest Beer, roast chicken and pork, wurst (sausages), pretzels, knodel (dumplings) and sauerkraut. But Oktoberfest is not just a place to sample fantastic German food and drink; it’s also the place to show off traditional German attire: lederhosen for the men, and the traditional Dirndl dress for women (think “beer wench”). Lederhosen are arguably the first thing you think of, when you think of traditional German clothing.
They used to be associated with uncultured peasants, but since the 19th century have become much more popular, with Bavarians keen to preserve their traditional clothing.
Here are some very important Oktoberfest-related phrases:
Ein bier, bitte - one beer, please
Biadimpfe (pronounced beer-DUHM-fay) - a notorious beer drinker
Fingerhackel (pronounced FING-ah-hag-in) - a popular game where two men hook their middle fingers and try to pull their opponent across the table
Harrgoddsa (pronounced HACK-coat-tsah) - Bavarian swear word (think “F” word)
Heisl (pronounced HIGH-zel) - toilet
If you’re going to really embrace the Bavarian persona for your fancy dress party, you really should learn some classic Bavarian drinking songs too. Ein Prosit is probably the most popular, and has the fewest words to learn: Ein Prosit, ein Prosit, der Gemütlichkeit is really all you need to know… oh, and you need to drink lots of beer if you’re going to do it right.
The other option for German fancy dress is of course to dress as a Nazi. In 2005, Prince Harry famously went to a fancy dress party dressed as Hitler and unleashed a torrent of bad press. If you’re going to go down this route for German fancy dressi, it’s better to avoid Hitler and go for a Gestapo officer instead. Think of Herr Flick in Allo Allo, with his hilarious limp, and the Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies by Van Klomp! Lots of heel clicking, standing to attention and saluting with a terribly over-emphasized German accent and serious expression at all times.