Lisa's week

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Lisa's week: Let’s go down to the Wiesn!

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Well, it’s that time of year again when many dust off their Lederhosen and Dirndl - yes, we use the German name for them in English too – and head down south to partake in a beer or two along with a whole lot of fun at Oktoberfest.

Known as the largest folk festival in the world, this infamous celebration of all things Bavarian is a highlight on many calendars and is certainly on my list of things I should do one day here in Germany.

I always used to ask myself why it’s called Oktoberfest when it’s mostly in September and I was interested to read that traditionally, it ran for 16 days leading up to the first Sunday in October. However, after German reunification, this was modified slightly and can be adjusted to 17 days if the 3rd October is a Saturday and 17 days if the 3rd is a Sunday. In that way, the Day of German Unity can be included in the Oktoberfest period. This year it started last weekend on 16th September and will run through to Sunday October 1st.

Located on the famous Theresienwiese fairground in Munich, it has been held for over 200 years since October 1810, and was originally a celebration to mark the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Theresa. The people of Munich were invited to the fields outside the city, then renamed to honour the Crown Princess, for horseracing and general festivities, which seem to have included the tasting of beers, singing and a parade. Although the specifics of the origins are a little disputed, the festival started here and has developed into the folk festival we have today, now attracting more than 6 million visitors a year.

Of course, there’s the funfair filled with rollercoasters, carousels and the Ferris Wheel, the side-stalls and the food and drink stands that are such a staple at German funfairs, but it’s the beer tents that are often the main attraction. Did you know that in 2013, 7.7 million litres of beer were served, mostly in huge 1-litre glasses? That makes my head spin! Not to forget that each one of those litres of beer will meet the German Purity Law and will have been brewed within the city boundaries, which surely makes for the best beer in the world – or am I just biased?

And if you can’t manage to get to Munich in the next few weeks? Well, many cities around the world have their own versions of Oktoberfest modelled on the original, that can be fun, even if they’re not quite the same as the original. But traditional music, plenty of delicious beer and beautiful traditional dress can give you a little of the spirit of Munich.

So, raise your glasses and join in the fun.


What is Lisa's week?

"We’ve (hopefully) been entertaining you so far with the meaning and background of a weekly English idiom and now we’ve decided to expand that a little to give me the chance to share some details that come my way in my daily life as a Business English teacher. I hope to find weekly tidbits of information and experience to tell you about such as British traditions that I (or we) celebrate, or typical mistakes made when speaking English, or even some of the funny things I come across in my daily life. We hope that you’ll enjoy the insight into the life of a Brit in Germany!"


Episode 1: The Queen's 90th birthday

Episode 2: What did you do last Sunday?

Episode 3: What's the best way to answer?

Episode 4: The sound of London

Episode 5: Not just a last resort

Episode 6: Quick tip of the week: advice vs. advise

Episode 7: Title talk

Episode 8: The Union Jack

Episode 9: Why Thursday?

Episode 10: Quick tip of the week - Are you watching or just looking?

Episode 11: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Episode 12: Don't forget to take you handy to the public viewing!

Episode 13: Up in the Highlands

Episode 14: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends

Episode 15: Pie in the sky 

Episode 16: Through the tunnel

Episode 17: Keep left!

Episode 18: Quick tip of the week - Rise vs. raise vs. arise

Episode 19: How do you say that?

Episode 20: Back to School!

Episode 21: Sweet cravings

Episode 22: Can you change a fiver?

Episode 23: Grabbing some "me time"

Episode 24: Typical Mistakes (part 1)

Episode 25: Fancy a cuppa?

Episode 26: Quip tip of the week - Fell vs. fall etc.

Episode 27: Things that go bump in the night!

Episode 28: Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpower, treason and plot

Episode 29: What's that badge you're wearing?

Episode 30: Bless you!

Episode 31: What are you thankful for?

Episode 32: Where's the larget Christmas Market outside Germany or Austria?

Episode 33: What's behind the door?

Episode 34: The joy of a Christmas cracker!

Episode 35: Does it all fit on the table?

Episode 36: Seeing in the New Year

Episode 37: How are your resolutions going?

Episode 38: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends - part 2

Episode 39: What will the Year of the Rooster mean for you?

Episode 40: Sweet Valentine

Episode 41: A Reminder

Episode 42: I'll have mine with sugar and lemon juice, please!

Episode 43: The joy of golden daffodils

Episode 44: To correct or not to correct, that is the question

Episode 45: The whole world's going green!

Episode 46: Idiom of the week - Raining cats and dogs

Episode 47: The joke's on you!

Episode 48: Left over from the Middle Ages!

Episode 49: More calendar food-based ponderings

Episode 50: We use German words too

Episode 51: Celebrating St George

Episode 52: The perfect start to the day

Episode 53: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 1)

Episode 54: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 2)

Episode 55: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 3)

Episode 56: Holiday season is coming!

Episode 57; ‘Tis the season (of Bank Holidays) – part 1

Episode 58; ‘Tis the season (of Bank Holidays) – part 2

Episode 59: Summer Solstice

Episode 60: Harry Potter turns 20

Episode 61: Quick Tip of the Week - live, life, live

Episode 62: Oh I do like to be beside the seaside

Episode 63:  I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

Episode 64: Stick a stamp on it!

Episode 65: Idiom of the week - Water under the bridge

Episode 66: I say QWERTY, you say QWERTZ

Episode 67: Doing your homework and making mistakes! (Part 1)

Episode 68: Doing your homework and making mistakes! (Part 2)

Episode 69: Joking around in Scotland

Episode 70: The first day of school