Students, faculty celebrate Oktoberfest, German culture

Hannah Fowl/The News Reika Ebert, professor of German at Murray State, teaches students and faculty a traditional German dance at Oktoberfest.
Hannah Fowl/The News Reika Ebert, professor of German at Murray State, teaches students and faculty a traditional German dance at Oktoberfest.

Hannah Fowl/The News
Reika Ebert, professor of German at Murray State, teaches students and faculty a traditional German dance at Oktoberfest.

Faculty, community members, students and the International Cultures and Languages Association (ICALA) gathered Saturday to celebrate bratwurst, sauerkraut, polka and beer.

The fall harvest festival, commonly known as Oktoberfest, has been a worldwide event since the tradition began in 1810.

Murray State German professor Reika Ebert said many places host a version of Oktoberfest, which includes music, dance, food and beer.

Germans who attend the event often wear traditional outfits.

The women wear long skirts with an apron and white blouses with puffy sleeves and the men wear decorative lederhosen.

“The original event was inspired as a wedding in 1810 by the crowned prince of Bavaria, Ludwig I, and his wife, Therese,” Ebert said. “This (the Murray State Oktoberfest) has been a tradition from before I came here 15 years ago.”

The first Oktoberfest in Germany began during the marriage of Ludwig I and his wife.

The couple invited the entire town of Munich and the people in surrounding towns to their wedding.

Prince Ludwig I decided to continue the event every year in the fall to celebrate his and his wife’s anniversary.

Ebert said every year the festival grew bigger and bigger and spread to different areas of the world.

The festival is common all over the world, but the largest Oktoberfest is in Munich.

The second largest Oktoberfest is in Cincinnati. For the Murray State Oktoberfest, Ebert and her colleagues planned an evening of games, dance and plenty of food.

The event began with a trivia game about the history of the festival and some facts about Germany.

Then, attendees performed a circle dance to authentic German polka music. Last, the attendees enjoyed a traditional German meal, complete with bratwurst and beer.

In order to host these events, Ebert said ICALA must raise money. The main fundraiser for  ICALA and the modern language faculty is their booth at Tent City.

The money raised helps ICALA fund scholarships for study abroad.

“We split the profit – the student organization gets half, and they distribute as they like at the end of the year for scholarships and so does the faculty,” Ebert said. “ICALA can distribute it for books, general expenses for study or they can take it for study abroad.”

  The department of modern languages at Murray State includes five languages. Each of the five groups hosts one large event during the academic year.

Oktoberfest is just one festival, dedicated to German heritage, brats, sauerkraut and beer.

Many more events related to other languages such as Spanish, French and Japanese are yet to come. 

Story by Madison WepferStaff writer