The Dark Secret History of Oktoberfest

It's time we all revisited the dark, forgotten origins of Oktoberfest.

Every year, around this time, millions of people don elaborate costumes and find ways to turn terror and evil into drunken fun.

I'm speaking, of course, about Oktoberfest. The festival, attended by millions in Munich each year, has become so iconic that it has birthed offshoots throughout the US and UK, celebrating the proud history of Bavarian dancing, clothing, and enormous steins of beer. But this familiar revelry has all but erased the true history of the event. Of course, things will look a little different this year, but that doesn't mean you can't celebrate this spooky holiday by revisiting the dark, forgotten origins of Oktoberfest.

Oktoberfest in Munich 2018

Originally called Herbstlichestupor, it was first "celebrated" in 1810, following the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig—the future King Ludwig I—to Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. The entire populace of Munich was invited to a festival in the field in front of the city gates. Attendance was particularly encouraged for the youth of the city, but word soon spread that the entire festival was nothing but a ruse orchestrated by the royal physician, Herr Eberhard.

Famously, Ludwig I suffered from lifelong case of schlaffewurst (limp sausage), along with other ailments attributable to the limited gene pool of the Bavarian Royal House of Wittelsbach, but Herr Eberhard had guaranteed he could create a remedy to "enliven the crown prince's performance" in time for his wedding night. Having already tried "an insufflation of powdered bull semen and direct application of a poultice of swan's neck," King Maximilian I Joseph allowed the good doctor "one fortnight in which to make sufficient staff of the crown prince's member, or be subject to banishment and exile from all of Bavaria unto death."

A Platter of Delicious German Sausage

Herr Eberhard recorded his late-night scouring of the state library, poring over ancient tomes of folk medicine until he found "near upon the rise of dawn, a recipe for a stew to augment the masculine vigor." The recipe called for the healthy liver of a young man of "erect stature and sturdy gait" and "a nösel of blood from a maiden of purest virtue." The festival was, in reality, just an excuse to send the royal guard among the gathered citizens and inspect them for suitability, but when word got around, all the brewers in the city carted barrel after barrel of ale to the festival to ensure that there was not a man of "erect posture and sturdy gait," to be found, and women were encouraged to wear their most revealing dirndls, so as to eschew the possibility of virtue.

Women Enjoying the Festivities at Oktoberfest 2015 Oktoberfest Girls

Soon, however, this subterfuge was discovered and ruthlessly punished. What followed was the bloodiest riot ever to be systematically erased from German history, commemorated to this day in Oktoberfest's "Costume and Riflemen Parade." For two hours, shots and screams rang out among the crowd, and the violence seemed sure to last through the night, but miraculously—from his vantage point high above the gore and chaos—Crown Prince Ludwig suddenly found the "feverish motivation" to get to work producing an heir.

The Costume and Riflemen Parade 2013 Usien

As a thanks to the citizens for inspiring his arousal with their screams, the King provided beer to maintain the drunken revelry for the next two weeks. The city made use of this generosity and tried to forget the horrors that had taken place, while the crown prince did his best to keep the memory fresh enough to perform his task. Each year after, Munich reenacted the tragedy for Ludwig's pleasure, and—along with the nine children that resulted—Oktoberfest was born. So this year, while you strap on your lederhosen and lift a stein of German ale the size of your head, please think of the men and women who died for a prince's soft dick.

Then again...

...Oktoberfest could just be a harmless celebration of Bavarian beer and culture, loosely connected to the occasion of a pleasant royal wedding—a party dedicated to European monarchy and drunk white people…which actually sounds worse.

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Three Things to Consider When Planning Your Vacation

There are plenty of things to consider when planning your vacation. Make sure you have all your bases covered by the time you buy your plane ticket!

Going on vacation is wonderful after months of stress and work. There's just one last hurdle before hopping on that plane: planning.

There can be an overwhelming number of things to consider when planning your vacation (COVID-19 not least), but putting them in an itemized list helps. Here's a quick cheat-sheet for you to get a jump-start on that.

Vacation VacationUniversity of Kentucky

Remember Your Budget

If you make a budget, which you definitely should, stick to it. Don't spend more than what you can afford when you start vacationing. Vacations are meant to be relaxing, so saddling yourself with debt will only dampen the fun of your trip. How much are you spending on living accommodations, food, activities, travel? How much are you setting aside in emergency funds in case something happens?

Plan for the Length of the Trip

Are you going out of town for a few months, or do you only have a week off? How much time you have can affect where you can go and how much you can enjoy it. If you only have a week and a half for a trip, then it's best not to go somewhere that's a 16-hour flight away. Half the trip is going to be spent on planes, and the other half will be spent being jet-lagged.

Trip length can also affect how you have to deal with your home while you're away. If you're away for long periods of time, do you need to hire people to cut your grass? Do you need to hire house sitters or babysitters? There are even things to know if you need to board your dog. Keep all these in mind for extended vacations.

Consider the Weather

You never want to ruin your vacation by heading somewhere beautiful in its offseason. Depending on the time of year, most activities could be canceled due to weather restrictions. Some places are ideal for winter trips, and other destinations are made to be enjoyed during the summer heat. Plan accordingly, and don't show up in a swimsuit when it's 50 degrees outside.

That rounds up the basics, but there are plenty more things to consider when planning your vacation. Give yourself wiggle room if any unique considerations pop up in your planning process.

There has never been a better time to learn a language than right now. While we can't really travel, we can still get ready to explore the world and other cultures through film, music, and food. But the key to all of this is language. It can be hard getting started on your own and so we found the perfect solution: Rosetta Stone.

We've been loving hunkering down and digging into Rosetta Stone, a language learning app with many different languages, the best lessons, and an affordable subscription. It's flexible and made to work for you, no matter what level you're starting at. Jump back into French without dusting off your highschool books or pick up Mandarin with a clean slate.

Thinking about Rosetta Stone for your language lessons? Here are the answers to your most pressing questions:

What languages do they offer?

With Rosetta Stone, you can choose from 25 different languages including Spanish, Arabic, and Japanese. When you get the Unlimited Languages subscription you gain access to all 25 and can switch between languages. While you may be intensely learning German, you can take a break and pick up some conversational Korean — all in one app.

What are the features?

What makes Rosetta Stone's lessons really work are the incredible learning features.

Phrasebook will teach you short, useful expressions that are sure to come in handy during your travels, letting you see the practical application of what you're learning. Seek & Speak brings the fun back into learning by having you do a scavenger hunt for everyday household items and taking photos of them to get the translated name. Even in an app, Rosetta Stone turns any environment into a classroom.

TruAccent is a speech engine within the program that provides instant feedback on your pronunciation so you know if you're on the right track. You'll grow more confident about speaking aloud and it's like having an accent coach in the room with you.

How long does it take every day?

Rosetta Stone's lessons are bite-sized, so all you need is 5 -10 minutes a day to sneak in some practice and work towards your language goals. Of course, you can do more if you want but there's no regimented schedule or pressure to speed ahead.

How does it compare to in-person classes?

With the Rosetta Stone app, your learning is within your control and designed to move at your pace. The app will tailor to your particular interests, strengths, and weaknesses! Plus, with the recent explosion of online classes, most people have fallen away from in-person instruction anyway.

Rosetta Stone brings you expert teaching, fun engaging lessons, and a multitude of language options all on-the-go. Take your classes whenever and wherever works best for you, conveniently on the app.

Is it suitable for all levels?

Absolutely. When you first start, the app allows you to choose a study plan based on your experience level. So, if you're a beginner you can start from scratch and those with some proficiency can advance to where they're comfortable.

How much does it cost?

The Unlimited Languages plan works out to be $7.99 a month and grants access to all 25 languages, cheaper than Netflix. You get an education at a great value and the best part is no ads while you learn!

We look forward to our Rosetta Stone lessons and highly recommend it to anyone eager to learn a new language or even brush up on an old one. This program makes learning fun, practical, convenient, and most importantly affordable.

Say bonjour, to the go-to language learning app and have the world right at your fingertips!

Update: The folks at Rosetta Stone are extending a special offer to our readers: Up to 45% off Rosetta Stone + Unlimited Language Access!

Like so many out there I haven't been traveling. With everything going on these days I've been staying home, which I love, but it does have me itching to travel. The international section of Netflix just isn't satisfying my travel bug like it used to (trust me, if it's been recommended I've watched it).

I was looking for another way I could travel without leaving home so I did the rounds of take-out food: Chinese, German, Italian, and Mexican. This was fun and tasty but a pricey way to explore the world.

A friend of mine suggested taking a prepping approach to travel and try Rosetta Stone: a language learning program that offers an annual plan with access to 24+ languages.

I've always wanted to learn a new language but have had trouble committing. I was a bit wary about starting Rosetta Stone but ultimately decided to give it a shot.

The Unlimited Languages plan works out to be $7.99 a month for 12 months (what a deal). While I was determined to learn Spanish in anticipation of my dream trip to Spain, this plan allows me to switch to any of the other 24+ languages.

I was excited to get started and use the app. I figured with all of the extra time I had until I could actually go on my trip, I'd aspire to be near fluent by the time it happened.

Jumping right in, I took a ton of lessons through their app and really binged the language. I loved the focus on conversational language, phrases, and vocabulary but after about a week I had burned myself out a bit.

I ended up pulling back and doing 10-minute lessons a day. This was manageable and easy to incorporate into my schedule whether it was by doing a lesson over my morning coffee or winding down right before bed. Learning in bite-sized amounts helped me digest the information and really process what I was being taught.

After a couple of weeks, I was getting really comfortable with Rosetta Stone and was actually enjoying the learning process… even though I wasn't a big fan of language when I was in school. What really set this experience apart for me was the Phrasebook and Seek & SpeakⓇ features.

Phrasebook teaches short, useful expressions that I know will come in handy on my trip. Seek & SpeakⓇ definitely brought the fun back into learning for me, as it has you do a scavenger hunt for everyday household items and take photos of them. Once you do this it gives you a translation of each item (I've never enjoyed looking for cucumbers in my fridge before).

Watching so many telenovelas I knew how important the accent is (in any language) but difficult without an in-person instructor. Rosetta Stone realizes that too and uses TruAccentⓇ. The speech engine within the program gave me instant feedback so I knew that my pronunciation was on the right track and it made me more comfortable speaking aloud.

Rosetta Stone turned out to be a great choice for me. Now I'm daydreaming about traveling and feel like when the time comes I'll be ready to. I'm so confident in my learning that I've branched out and have done some lessons in Italian and French! I'm thinking, after Spain… maybe Rome and Paris? My destinations list is endless now!

Honestly, with Rosetta Stone, I feel more inspired than ever to travel and all this inspiration is happening right in my home. I can't wait to take what I've learned on the road but until then the preparation is still incredibly fun and useful.

Update: The folks at Rosetta Stone are extending a special offer to our readers: Up to 45% off Rosetta Stone + Unlimited Language Access!