Sunday, October 21, 2007

Doin' the Haus

Deutsches Haus that is! Saturday night we celebrated Oktoberfest 2007 at the Deutsches Haus. I have been here to celebrate Oktoberfest many times, but this was the first time with children. And I must say, I had the most fun this year because of the kids.

I did the chicken dance and didn't actually feel silly.
To make it even more fun, I danced with the Deutsches Haus Chicken. The girls were having so much fun. They danced and danced and danced and danced.
Notice the hair in motion!
I took still pictures and realized my camera takes video. Ding-dong! I got some really great footage of the girls gone wild "G" version.

While we were there, I learned some new information about my heritage. I always thought I was just a smidgen German, but now I learn I am more German than my other cultures. Well, I am not in the thinking kind of mode, so I am not going to try to figure out the percentage. Here goes, here's my ancestral heritage:
Maternal grandmother: 100% Italian
Maternal grandfather: 50% French, 50% Spanish
Paternal grandmother: 100% German
Paternal grandfather: 50% French, 50% German

So what am I? Heinz 57? So, my children have this plus an addition of 100% Nicaraguan from their father.

Since this celebration last night, I got curious. Curious as to why they celebrate for 4 weeks and why they celebrate this at all. So, here's the answer.

History of Oktoberfest

The Oktoberfest tradition started in 1810 to celebrate the October 12th marriage of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig to the Saxon-Hildburghausen Princess Therese. The citizens of Munich were invited to join in the festivities which were held over five days on the fields in front of the city gates. The main event of the original Oktoberfest was a horse race.

Anniversary celebrations were held annually thereafter that eventually became larger and more elaborate. An agricultural show was added during the second year. In 1818, a carousel and two swings were set up for the revelers. Such amusements were few in the first decades of the festival, but party-goers were amply entertained by the tree climbing competitions, wheel barrow and sack races, mush eating contests, barrel rolling races, and goose chases. By 1870s, mechanical rides were an expanding feature of the festival and in 1908, the festival boasted Germany's first roller coaster. When the city began allowing beer on the fairgrounds, makeshift beer stands began cropping up, and their number increased steadily until they were eventually replaced by beer halls in 1896. The beer halls, like the beer tents of today, were sponsored by the local breweries.

The festival was eventually prolonged and moved ahead to September to allow for better weather conditions. Today, the last day of the festival is the first Sunday in October. In 2006, the Oktoberfest extended two extra days because the first Tuesday, October 3, was a national holiday. Over the past 200 years, Oktoberfest was canceled 24 times due to cholera epidemics and war. (Taken from http://www.vistawide.com/german/oktoberfest/oktoberfest.htm).

I have very fond memories of the 1984 Louisiana World's Fair Exposition in New Orleans. There was an exhibit called the German Beer Garden. This was my first experience with beer and Oktoberfest. This Oktoberfest extended from May 12 through November 11, 1984; A bit longer than the typical fest. Oh, those were the days.

To add to the history, Deutsches Haus has been around New Orleans since 1928 in the same spot at 200 S Galvez Street. It is in danger of being demolished to make way for the new LSU and VA Medical Centers. There is a petition to save the Haus.

4 comments:

redtex said...

Way cool! I love history lessons, thanks for teaching! Your daughters are precious!

KentuckyGal said...

We went to the Edelweiss restaurant in Ft Worth for my mother's birthday one year, and they did the chicken dance. :p

I guess by the 'grandparent' formula, I would be mostly American:

paternal grandfather: 100% American
paternal grandmother: 100% American
(meaning both parents born in the US)

maternal grandfather: 100% Swiss
maternal grandmother: 50% Swiss, 50% American.

breitlastmouse said...

Thanks! I enjoyed this very much!
I didnt realize what octoberfest was about thank you

Sheila said...

Very cool! I haven't done the chicken dance since high school! So here's my German Link:
Maternal grandmother: 75% British, 25% ??
Maternal grandfather: 100% German
Paternal grandmother: 50%German, 50% French
Paternal grandfather: 50% Norwegian, 50% Dutch