Oktoberfest in the 21st Century

Celebrating Oktoberfest

(Photo: 46137/Flickr/CC-BY)

The drinking of alcoholic substances has persisted for millennia as a social practice. In almost every culture in the world, the consumption of libations, as they are often called, is extensive. Nevertheless, what inherent social value does the drinking of alcohol possess if done in groups or in a community setting? The most notable aspect of this practice is that it stems from community rituals of the past, such as religious rites. In fact, in almost every culture, a deity has been assigned or attributed to the drinking of wine. However, more importantly, it is an established social practice that is a significant part of the cultural heritage of a particular society or country.

Drinking and the sense of community

Even before the Romans occupied Germany, the ancestors of the German people have long consumed alcoholic substances in social events and communal activities. Regardless of the functionality of this practice, its value was that it served in part as a vessel as well as a manifestation of culture.

Cultural preservation was undertaken indirectly through these rites. Setting aside the intangible value of these communal drinking activities, it also serves another important role in the development of the society. It is an avenue and mode of socialization. It facilitates the forming of community bonds and helps strengthen existing ones. It constantly reinforces the sense of belonging to a community. This develops the society as a unified and identified whole. This socio-cultural dynamic of communal drinking is what gives it an added tangible value.

Western decadence

Detractors and opponents of the Oktoberfest in Germany, which is a national event that features extensive communal drinking, would argue using the circumstances of this year’s event. This year’s Oktoberfest has set a new record for the amount of alcohol consumed. The number of cases of lost items has increased also, leaving many in need of quick financial help through a payday loan or short term loan, among other forms of credit.

However, the main contention of those who are against these kinds of activities is that it highlights and emphasizes decadence, particularly western decadence. This means that the prosperity of these countries has eroded values and morals to the level where they no longer matter anymore.

National heritage

Oktoberfest is part of Germany’s national identity. Communal activities that are rich in history and date as far back as ancient times require constant practice as a means to preserve it. This activity has been in existence since before the birth of the modern German state. This makes this important, along with other cultural treasures of Germany. In fact, Germany is known for this annual event. It cannot be assessed as a matter of moral values because culture and all manifestations of it transcend this.


ABC News


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