German phrase of the day: O'zapft is

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German phrase of the day: O'zapft is
Photo: Francesco Ungaro / Unsplash + Nicolas Raymond / flickr

With Oktoberfest back in full swing after a two-year pause, we're looking at an iconic Bavarian beer fest phrase (and a few more you might find helpful).


Why do I have to know O'zapft is?

Because this is one of the most iconic Oktoberfest sayings. And it's distinctly Bavarian. 

What does it mean?

O'zapft is is the Bavarian dialect for the German Es ist angezapft, meaning "it's tapped".

When the mayor of Munich taps the first beer barrel at 12pm on the first day of Oktoberfest and shouts: O'zapft is! you know that the festival has officially started. 

And it's actually a bit more than a little tap - the ceremony involves the mayor using a large mallet to tap open the beer keg (as seen in the news report below). 


The tapping tradition dates back to 1950 when, on September 16th, former Munich mayor Thomas Wimmer opened the Munich Electric Fair before rushing over to the Schottenhamel festival tent on the Theresienwiese. He was greeted by reporters and photographers and, with the mallet and tap at the ready, he performed the first official tapping of the barrel at the Oktoberfest.

In the 1980s it became the tradition to offer the Bavarian state premier the first beer from the keg. 

This year tens of thousands of people braved the rain for the first weekend of the festival. It runs until October 3rd. 

READ ALSO: Germany's famed Oktoberfest opens after two-year pandemic hiatus 

What else might you say at Oktoberfest?

If you want to impress the locals, you’re not going to talk about how much you love Oktoberfest, you'll call it Wiesn.

A sentence like I moag die Wiesn ("I like Oktoberfest/Wiesn") will quickly capture those proud Bavarian hearts.

Meanwhile, asking for ein Maß, bitte will get you a litre of beer. 

And before you drink your beer you want to invite your friends to raise their glasses by saying: Trinkspruch. 

And then: Oans, zwoa, g’suffa - which means "one, two, drink!".


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