The idea to educate each other about festivals and traditions came from the fact that the Chinese New Year’s Festival and the German Karneval had just passed. Therefore, we created small presentations about both national and religious festivals we grew up with in our home country. My Chinese group members taught me about of course the Chinese New Year’s festival, the dragon boat festival, the Chinese traditional version of Valentine’s day and the mid-autumn/moon festival and each one’s story. We could even find some similarities between the “western” New Year’s eve and the Chinese New Year’s festival. There, both use fireworks and colorful objects to scare away monsters, ghosts, etc. I also feel like I’ve been a little better regarding the pronunciation of the festivals’ names. In exchange, I taught my Chinese group members about the German Oktoberfest, Karneval, the way we celebrate christmas and the “Tag der deutschen Einheit” (Day of German Unity) to ensure a good and interesting mix of religious festivals and festivals you mostly engage in for the sake of celebrating itself. We unexpectatly found out that people in China / Germany celebrate the 1 May as the labor day as well. We three of us thought that it would be a national holiday rather than something that other nations celebrate too. While teaching the names of cities where particular festivals are celebrated (München or Köln) I taught them the pronunciation of the letters ä, ö, ü and ß. I think we achieved the overall goal of teaching each other the culture rather than the plane language itself. However, for the next time we decided to teach each other common phrases like “hello, how are you?”, “thank you” or “Can you help me?” to actually get to know the language a little better. Moreover, we decided to talk about different beauty standards in Germany and China since one of my Chinese group members thought that western beauty standards that are portrayed on e.g. Instagram differ heavily from the ones she is exposed to in China. I am really looking forward to our next meeting about common phrases and beauty standards.
Jacqueline, Maria, Nedas and I discussed the possibility of preparing german food for one of our upcoming meetings, but before that a really important festival in Germany was coming to Tampere, OKTOBER FEST, and we just couldn’t miss it. We decided that our 5th meeting would take place at Pleuvna, the bar that organized this event.
We met at around 7 pm at Plevna. When I arrived I noticed that the place was packed. I made my way to our table where I got to speak and drink with people from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. As for our group, we all drank a jar of beer, I order a traditional German Pretzel and Maria and Jacky order some traditional german dishes (which were not exactly accurate according to Maria), and we spend the rest of the evening chatting and having fun!
During our meeting we could hear some traditional Folk music played by a live band, I could see that this music brought everyone together, since every single person from a german speaking country was singing along to the lyrics of some of the tunes.
Jacqueline also gave me some insight into the garments that are used by women during Oktoberfest:
This dresses are called dirndl, the marital status of the women wearing it is indicated by the position of the ribbon.
On the right side it means that the woman is taken, on the left side it means single, in the middle it shows she’s a virgin, and on the back it means she is a widow.
Over all it was a fun evening. Now I can cross “Drinking beer with germans” from my bucket list.
Our EOTO group decided to go the Oktoberfest that was celebrated last 5th of October in Tampere.
Tomi, one of the German boys in our group, had suggested it because it’s a very famous beer festival that is held annualy in Bavaria, Germany, and it was also a good idea to immerse ourselves in some Bavarian culture, because it’s celebrated there since 1810.
There are many other cities across the world that also held Oktoberfest Celebrations that are modeled after the original Munich event, and Tampere had its own celebration last 5th of October.
Tomi explained us that in Bavaria, it’s usual for peole to drink between 4 and 5 liters of beer during this festival, because the party is spread throughout the day, and people usually drink the beers in one liter jars.
I tried one small beer that I had never seen before, that contained banana and honey, and it was quite good.
We also ate some German dishes that contained sausages, cheese, meat and pickles.
The pub was decorated with many Bavarian flags, and on the tables there were cookies decorated with the colors of the flag.
We spent the whole evening talking about some traditions in Malasya, Germany and Spain, and had a lot of fun with the Bavarian orchestra that was playing accordions and trumpets in the pub.
Even though some had some other mishap due to drinking too much… It was a very funny evening!
Yesterday, Pauliina and I went to Plevnan Oktoberfest to show Pauliina one of the most famous German traditions. Or at least, have a little pretaste.
I just know, that the bavarian “Tracht” is the “Lederhose” for the man and the “Dirndl” for the woman. It was the rope that the workers in the countryside wore. But beginning of the 19th century, it became very famous among the cities as well. Nowadays, the Tracht is a symbol for the bavarian cultural identity.
I explained to Pauliina, that if she wants to go to Oktoberfest in Munich, she needs to be careful with binding her skirt ;-). If you have the ribbon on the left, it means your single (well, at least not married…) and maybe someone comes to flirt with you. The ribbon on the right side means you are taken. If you wear the ribbon in the middle, you are a virgin, whereas the ribbon on the back means you are a widow.
Especially in this southern part of Germany called “Bayern”, tradition and customs have a very high value. When it comes to Oktoberfest, everyone seems to link it to whole Germany. But I really see it as a part and a tradition of Bavaria. Personally, I have never been to the Oktoberfest in Munich yet, but since part of my family comes from Munich, I really want to go there next year.
It was nice to have some beers and food and also listen to an estonian brassband that played some songs. We also sang along the famous short “Prosit” song.
“Ein Prosit, ein Prosit, der Gemütlichkeit,
ein Prosit, ein Prosit, der Gemütlichkeit.”
After some very excellent Mexican food the week before, it was now our turn to introduce Oscar to the magnificent german (mostly bavarian) world of meals!
We tried to explain him how important fairs like the Oktoberfest or Cannstatter Wasen, are for our social and cultural life, but also how much they influence our image in the world. So as we have pre-estimated stereotypes of Mexicans, they also have them for us. The most typical might be the one of Lederhosen wearing and Sauerkraut eating, too thick guys that have mostly no sense of humor. But I think we already busted that myth during the several meetings before… at least we hoped so 😀
So to experience our very own little Oktoberfest we were going to Plevna restaurant next to Fynlaison, ate some typical German meals and of course enjoyed some very good beer. This time we talked a lot about German culture and tradition, which was really nice since we all had something different from our own areas that we could talk about. I think it was also very interesting for Oscar to see how variable German culture is and I guess it also helped him to decide which places he really should visit during his (almost) planned trip to Germany.
At the request of my German students, I searched for some easier newspaper articles for them to read. We met at Metso, the town’s library, which was a new location to me! 😀 I pass Metso every day by bus but I never went there because I didn’t know it was an open library for everyone… xD
I had two articles for them to chose from, one was about the Oktoberfest in Germany and another one was a comparison between Bachelor and Master graduations in Germany. The links are embedded, you can read through them if you’re interested 🙂 I decided to pick both of them because one shows a bit of Germany’s culture and the other one is related to us as students 😀
They decided to read through the Oktoberfest article and even though I paid attention to pick easier ones to read, there were a lot of phrases and words Kaisa and Maija didn’t know. But at least they got some useful phrases out of the article 🙂 And now I know that our texts should be of an easier level next time, trying to learn from mistakes here! 😉
After the newspaper article we went through the books in Metso to look for German books. I recommended some books of the Slice of Life/Comedy Genre because they are about everyday life’s topics and thus, easier to understand. Or they can read Finnish books that have been translated to German because the content might be known already 🙂
Another idea that I had was to read children books because they are made for beginners 😀
If you want to learn a new language, I guess children books are always a good start! 😉 We might come back for Metso to try it out! 😀
See you next entry! ♥
On nice and already a bit dark October afternoon we went to the main library Metso and found a nice cafe upstairs. Our teacher had found a newspaper article about Oktoberfest and we started to translate it. It was nice to notice that even I didn’t understand all the words, I could still follow up the story.
Oktoberfest is a huge happening in German. Our teacher told us that many people steal the beer glass (jar) as a souvenir. New word from the text for me was ‘Sanitätsstation’. It doesn’t mean ‘toilet station’ which was my first guess. It means first aid station which is usually quite crowded during the Oktoberfest.
When we got trough the text we went to the library downstairs. We looked around and tried to find a bookshelf where the German books are kept. Finally we found for example books for children, German poetry, novels and study books. There were a quite impressive collection and I think it is possible actually borrow and read something from easy read section :). At least we know now where those books can be found.