The Oktoberfest 2021 was cancelled. The 187th Munich Oktoberfest is planned to begin on September 17th 2022.

Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit is regularly played in any Bavarian beer tent.

The song that is regularly being played at the Oktoberfest and beer tents all over Bavaria is called “Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit”. As learning its lyrics won’t take you more than two minutes, we’ve got some more information on the meaning and origin of the song for you to impress your fellows.

Ein Prosit song lyrics

Ein Prosit, ein Prosit
Der Gemütlichkeit
Ein Prosit, ein Prosit
Der Gemütlichkeit

Very often, Ein Prosit is followed by the simple toast, “Oans, zwoa, drei, gsuffa!”, which means, “one, two, three, drink”. Subsequently, the singer may also add an actual toast, often in form of a (supposedly) funny, often vulgar rhyme.

What does it mean in English?

Luckily the lyrics basically consist of only two different words:

Prosit is the conjunctive of the Latin word prodesse and means “may it be beneficial” or roughly “be well”. The word is the origin of the German prost.

Gemütlichkeit depicts a state of well-being, warmth, and friendliness.

Altogether, the phrase “Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit“ means something like, “a toast to well-being”.

After the song, you cling the mugs.
After the song, you cling the mugs.

The whole protocol

The song is often preceded by the band calling out, “die Krüge hoch”, which means, “raise your mugs” and is consequently executed by a good-humored crowd. This is being repeated two more times. Bands like to use this prelude to determine the crowd's level of excitement.

Après la chanson, la chope encore dans la main, on les cognes avec toute monde de la table, pas individuellement mais tous au même temps au centre de la table. En cognant, pour souligner le geste, on dit « prost ».

The song's history and origin

Même que la seule raison pour quelle la chanson et encore bien connu aujourd’hui et sa connexion serré avec la culture de tentes de bière Bavaroises, son origine n’est pas Bavarois du tout. En fait, son compositeur est Bernhard Dietrich de Chemnitz en Saxonie. Comme Ein Prosit est le seul pièce de son œuvre qui l’a suivi, on ne sait pas beaucoup sur cet homme qui vivat de 1840 à 1920 et qui travailla en tant que comptable d’une usine de textile.

Son chef d’œuvre fut probablement composé fin du 19e siècle. Après qu’il se propagea parmi des chœurs d’hommes, le patron d’Oktoberfest légendaire est extraordinairement innovatif, Georg Lang (Lang Schurl), le découvrit et utilisa pour l’une de ses nouvelletés : Quand il acquit une grande tente de bière à l’Oktoberfest de 1898, il a introduit le premier grand orchestre d’instruments à vent.

Georg Ritzer, post card „Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit\", 1899. Part of the collection of Munich
Georg Ritzer, post card „Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit\", 1899. Part of the collection of Munich's city museum.

To heat up the crowd even more, Lang distributed songbooks in his tent so that guests could sing along with his 30-man-brass-band. One of those songs was Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit. This completely new way to celebrate in an Oktoberfest tent was a huge success and in the following years, large brass band and Ein Prosit became a standard for the larger volksfests in Bavaria.

As if the song's history wasn't already tied closely enough to the Oktoberfest, a couple of years ago, its rights were bought by Wolfgang Grünbauer, the bandleader of the Oktoberfestmusikanten, the orchestra of the Festzelt Tradition. Hereby, the originally Saxonian song eventually became a true Bavarian.

How often is it being played?

Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit is without a doubt the most frequently played piece of music in Bavarian beer tents. You can expect to hear it about two or three times per hour. At festivals where the crowd doesn't react to it, it may only be once an hour.

As German bands have to report each piece of music they perform to the German performing rights society GEMA, the GEMA uses their data to publish the most popular Oktoberfest songs each year. Guess which one is the champion every single year.