Every September and October Munich becomes the centre of attention, especially for those who count themselves as beer lovers. In the month of September the mayor of the city taps the first keg of beer in the Schottenhammel tent on the Theresienwiese in Munich. This annual ritual officially starts Oktoberfest which is always held in the last two weeks of September each year and finishes during the first weekend in October. As Oktoberfest kicks off, massive crowds of tourists descend upon Munich from all over the world to enjoy the well-known ‘Maβ’ beer served in a one litre mug.
Although this part of southern Germany is known for its beer and Oktoberfest, Bavaria has a lot more to offer. Some may argue that the free state of Bavaria cherishes its historical traditions more than any other state in Germany, while it tends to see itself as different from the others. Foreigners are not alone when they struggle to understand the local customs and traditions in Bavaria as many Germans are often surprised by the cultural differences they encounter there.
Living and working in Germany can be a completely different experience in Bavaria than in other parts of the country. Anyone living and working in Bavaria should try to gain an understanding of the customs, behaviours and traditions that are unique to this part of Germany.
Here are a few cultural mannerisms and attitudes that you may come across in Bavaria:
- A unique combination of traditional and modern values and attitudes towards life and business
- A distinct dialect which even Germans from the North can find hard to understand as it differs quite a bit from High German
- A tendency to use double negations. For example: ‘Der Fonsi hod koa Gschpusi net’, meaning ‘The Fonsi has never not had a girlfriend’
- The use of the subjunctive as an expression for politeness. For example you may often hear men say ‘I waar soweid’ when waiting for their wife when she still isn’t ready to go. In other words, they will be ready when their wife is
- A special weather condition which can only be observed in the alpine regions called the ‘Föhn’. This kind of ‘downslope’ wind can cause migraines or sleeplessness but it is also responsible for the gorgeous blue sky often seen in this region
- The biggest per-capita-consumption of beer at 215 litres a year
- Beer from the widest selection of 631 regional breweries in the state all brewed by the same German purity law
- Culinary specialties like ‘Brezn’, ‘Weiβwurscht’ (Bavarian veal sausage) or ‘Hendl’ (roast chicken) which are typically eaten with beer during Oktoberfest
- Traditional costumes worn for daily purposes as well as cultural festivities. Some of the most well-known include ‘Lederhose’ and ‘Dirndl’ for women which usually consists of a traditional blouse, dress and apron which is said to give a stunning figure to every woman no matter the size.
Living and working in Germany can be very exciting and different when Bavaria is the selected destination. If you are going on an international assignment to Bavaria be sure to prepare yourself by researching this part of Germany thoroughly so you know what to expect. A cross-cultural awareness training course can also help you to further expand your understanding of German and Bavarian culture so that you can make the most out of this unique social and professional experience.
© Communicaid Group Ltd. 2011