fly the seven seas

Observations of a Sydney girl rocking Germany


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Embracing Oktoberfest

Tomorrow at 12pm Oberbürgermeister (Lord Mayor) Dieter Reiter will mark the official begin of München’s most renowned annual event as he taps the first keg of Oktoberfest Bier in the Schottenhamel Bier tent, follows this with an “O’zapft’ is” and a good swig of his Maß.

Once tapped, the 13 other tents can begin to serve the München-brewed Bier to their thirsty guests.

For the next two weeks to follow, the sights and smells of the Oktoberfest will be ever-present throughout the city; throngs of tourists crowd the main train stations and the city centre, Tracht will be worn from dawn to dusk and the streets will buzz with groups of extra jolly, sometimes sweaty and most often tipsy, red-cheeked revellers.

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Playing dress ups

Our firm hosted a ‘sales and marketing day’ last week for the all employees in the Munich office to ‘promote talent and opportunities across service lines’ – i.e. a means to justify a large celebration.
Lured by a night out for a pre-Oktoberfest party (and informative workshops of course)  I accepted the invitation. In preparation for the event, the invitation described:

Dresscode           
Dre Dresscode sowohl für die Tages – als auch die Abendveranstaltung ist Tracht, bayerischer Landhausstil oder Casual.
(The dresscode for both the day-time and evening event is Tracht (Dirndl / Lederhosen), Bavarian country estate style or casual).

Putting aside my Greek heritage and the multiple, annual events I (forcefully) participated in as a child*, the notion of an official national ‘costume’ as an Australian – let a lone wearing it in the work environment – is definitely something new to me.

Being who I am (Australian, Greek, and a little stubborn), I don’t find it easy to thrown on my Dirndl at all occasions (e.g. work festivities) and act like I’m one of the locals. My colleagues on the otherhand were excited to know that they could mix things up a little from the ‘contemporary businesswear’ that is usually required.

While having a national costume is common to many cultures around the world what I see here is an evident enthusiasm to dress in traditional costume. Dressing in Tracht isn’t restricted to Oktoberfest / Volksfest celebrations; in Bavaria Tracht is often worn at parties, weddings, to church, by waitstaff in traditional restaurants, on Sunday picnics and also accepted in the workplace. Enthusiasm is also seen through the desire to have the latest Tracht accessories, hairstyles to match and even Karl Lagerfeld’s latest 2013 leather Dirndl styles. Continue reading