Go ask an American about a German tradition! The response you will get in 95 precent of the cases is: Oktoberfest!
As a born German I say: Its just a shame to use the words Oktoberfest and tradition in one sentence. But then you wonder, why do thousands of people want to be part of this festival? Its about BEER! And as a born German i say: YES! Absolutely right.
Brewing beer is tradition since the Middle Ages and even earlier. The Celtics brewed a drink, called „cervesia“, a wheat beer made with honey for the more wealthy citizenship in those days. Apparently the Egyptians created a kind of a barley beer.
The centuries-old German purity law is an impressive accomplishment and has made brewing beer a real tradition. Its says that only hops, malt, yeast and water are allowed as ingredients of beer.
What makes the hundreds of diverse kinds of beer so different though, is, for the most part, its the different kinds of hops. Hops, Humulus lupulus. It’s the taste maker. Its what gives the beer the distinct flavour and the bitterness that we love.
Nobody knows exactly when hops was used the first time in the process of brewing beer. But it’s likely that hops, which original homeland is probably the northern Himalaya, came in the course of the migration period to Europe. Since that time people have brewed beer with it and used it as a preservative. Thank hops that our beer stays good for so long.
So, whenever you like to live tradition in Germany, catch some friends, go to the grocery store, go for some different kinds of beer and sit on some steps downtown on a afternoon in the summer, sip your cool beer, enjoy the hops flavour, while observing your surroundings and make some stupid jokes about god and the world.
Or you buy some young hops plants and start your own brewery.
I assure you, both are bigger cultural experiences, than visiting the Oktoberfest.