Thursday, October 18, 2012


You may have noticed that Jeff and I enjoy going to festivals and Germany certainly is the place to partake of those type of events. The thing that drives these festivals in Germany is something called Gemütlichkeit (gŭ moot' lĭk īt). It doesn't matter if it's the world's largest festival in Munich, the Oktoberfest, or the smallest German village's Kerwe (more on that in an upcoming blog) it's all about Gemütlichkeit.

Right now the wine festival season is winding down but various towns and villages are still involved in their own local festival celebrations. Town fire departments hold an annual open house to spread Gemütlichkeit. Halloween is catching on in Germany because it's another opportunity for Gemütlichkeit. Early November begins the Fasching season, late November the Christmas markets start, January and February include numerous Fasching events until it all climaxes on the Tuesday prior to beginning of Lent, March includes the Starkbier, Strong beer, season in Munich, spring festivals begin in April, May brings the first wine festivals that run through the summer until the frenzy of August and September and all of these are all about one thing, Gemütlichkeit.

So what the heck is Gemütlichkeit? It roughly translates to being comfortable or cozy but in terms of a festival it means a relaxed, fun feeling. It's a cheerful time with friends, old and new. It's been described as "public festivity" in the form of music, food and drink.

At just about every event mentioned above you'll hear a familiar German song repeatedly played during the day and night that calls the crowd to hoist their glasses and sing along, "Ein Prosit, Ein Prosit, der Gemütlichkeit," ("Cheers, Cheers, enjoy life, friends, drink, food, music and have a great time!!" I guess that covers it all.) and that's exactly what the folks at the festivals will do, reaching across tables to tap their glass with their friends and strangers alike.

When you go to a festival you expect Gemütlichkeit and that's what you'll get. In fact, statements of expected Gemütlichkeit have gone so far that one gentleman sued a travel/tour company when their advertised prospects of Gemütlichkeit were not met. If they promise Gemütlichkeit they better bring Gemütlichkeit.

You've heard the term, it's all about the money. Well, in Germany, when it comes to festivals, it's all about Gemütlichkeit. And, after all the festivals Jeff and I have been to, after all the years, I don't remember one festival that failed to deliver Gemütlichkeit. PROST!!

1 comment:

  1. I was reading the blog and the whole time asking what is Gemutlichkeit and then I found out. I love that about the public festivity. I love the song and of course recognize it. We remember singing it at the Hofbrau house. too bad I can't pronounce Gemutlichkeit. I can pronounce Ein Prosit!