In spite of the name, ‘Oktoberfest’ actually begins in the middle or end of September. It’s a folk festival which typically signifies the onset of winter in Germany and much of central or western Europe. Oktoberfest is typically associated with the consumption and appreciation of a wide variety of beers.
Typical food items belonging to German cuisine such as pretzels, sauerkrauts and sausages as bratwurst are also widely consumed during this period but beer remains a quintessential part of the festivities.
Beer took up such importance due to certain historical reasons. The people of Germany realized that beers could best be brewed from the autumn to the spring period but not during summer as air borne bacteria prevalent during that time could spoil their taste. Thus all beers were fermented between the end of September and the end of March. In March, production would be increased to make up for the shortfall over the coming months. These beers brewed which were known as Marzen would be stronger than usual to aid preservation and they would then be stored inside cellars. These beers would be consumed throughout the summer but once it was time to brew again, all the extra stock had to be emptied. This gave birth to a period of revelry around the beverage. Only six breweries in the province of Bavaria are allowed to produce Oktoberfest beers.
Germany’s rise as a hub for tourism and its continued presence as amongst the top economies of the world means that Oktoberfest is now globally recognized. There are versions of Oktoberfest across the rest of Europe as well as in countries with a large German immigrant population such as USA, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, South Africa and Canada. Nowadays even China, India and Sri Lanka celebrate the same in order to be in sync with global trends. In such conditions, it is essential for the fest to maintain its roots while also embracing the newer cultures. While descendants of German immigrants form a major fulcrum of the population in several countries, in most of these places the majority no longer speak or understand the language. Thus they might lose the essence of the beers or the festivities. Also there are several people with no such ancestry but who for the love of travelling or seeking out different experiences want to join in the festivities. For this it is important that they be able to access translations in various local languages such as Spanish (Argentina, Venezuela), Portuguese (Brazil), Afrikaans (South Africa), English (USA, Canada, Australia, India) and Mandarin (China). German being among the most translated languages due to its status as the most spoken first language in much of Europe, its translations are relatively easier to come across.