By Jazminn Hintz
Oktoberfest is a festival known for drinking beer and having a good time, but some say the German festival has strayed from its traditional roots as a harvest celebration.
Oktoberfest is traditionally celebrated in September in Munich, Germany, but in North America and Regina the festival is typically held in October and doesn’t necessarily follow the German tradition.
Oktoberfest was originally “the time of the year when most of the time on the field was done and people had some time to celebrate,” said Sabine Doebel-Atchison, Executive Director of the Saskatchewan German Council.
Doebel-Atchison pointed out most of the people who organize Oktoberfest here in Saskatchewan are of German background and try to keep the celebration traditional, but because it’s called Oktoberfest, North Americans naturally hold it in October.
“They have the Oktoberfest here more for the food and the party and the band playing and that’s it, and it’s not really at the time it’s supposed to be at either,” said Friederike Given, who immigrated to Canada from southern Germany in 1984.
“For some it’s just a party, it’s nothing else,” Given said. The celebrations have become more multicultural and are getting farther away from traditional German food, music and drink, she said.
Now the German Canadian Society Harmonie in Regina is trying to bring the tradition back to Oktoberfest for those who might not know German tradition.
“The German community here in Regina is really big but the young German people who were born here they don’t know that much about Germany or German traditions. I think it’s really nice for people to come here to see how it will go and what we’re doing,” said Sweclana Voromin, manager of the German Society.
“I think it’s really important to work all together. It’s first cultural, second it’s to bring people together, third I think it’s really nice for the people from outside of the German club or from other cultures to learn something new about German people, about the German culture,” said Voromin.
Voromin said they have made modern changes to Oktoberfest by hosting it on Oct. 20 to coincide with the completion of the Saskatchewan harvest.