October is a pretty big deal around these parts. Not just because of Oktoberfest (which actually begins at the end of September), but because Weimar is invaded by thousands of people for the Zwiebelfest, or the onion festival. Yes, when it comes to celebrating food, Germans pick the strangest ones to celebrate.
Since Weimar is close to a village that has the onion as its traditional produce, it is clear why this became the focus of the local harvest festival.
So they have onion cake, onion home decor, crafts made of onions, onion garlands, onion decorated sunglasses, earrings, head bands…you name it. Strangely, onion rings haven’t caught on yet. Thankfully, the cold weather means that most of us have the sniffles, and the cold, damp air blots out the resulting human stink.
Assorted kitsch completely unrelated to onions are also sold. This year I got myself a bundle of oats to stick over my door (reminiscent of a Filipino tradition to sticking a bundle of rice stalks over the door to ensure prosperity), an onion garland to rid myself of vampires, and a rice paddle decorated with onions and dried flowers, because it looked pretty. And a bird house made by a juvenile delinquent as part of her arts and crafts program in her detention facility. Just like with their choice of foodstuffs to celebrate, the Germans really show a knack for (not really) naming products. “Knast Made!” (Prison Made!) seems to be in really poor taste.
Anyhoo, as with most small town festivals, the best thing to do is not to take everything seriously and have fun! And drink copious amounts of alcohol while at it.