“Ein Prosit”is one song you are absolutely guaranteed to hear at the Oktoberfest. That’s because that bands in blurt it out every 20 minutes or so in an honest effort to help revelers get nice and lubricated. And to remind them why they’re at the fest – for Gemütlichkeit!
You can’t translate Gemütlichkeit directly into English (it’s one of those uniquely German words.) The best English translation is “coziness”or “good cheer”. But Gemütlichkeit goes a step further and encapsulates a feeling of belonging, social acceptance and leaving your troubles at the door.
Whenever Ein Prosit is played you’re obliged to stand up with your beer in hand and sway along to the tune, toast with everyone at the table and chug.
Ein Prosit’s origins are murky. Though it’s difficult to pin down from where the song originally stems the modern version was composed by Gerhard Jussenhoven and Kurt Elliot in 1957.
At festivals the song is often followed by a charge of “Schenkt ein, trinkt aus, schenkt ein, trinkt aus!”(I gave you one, drink it up, I gave you one, drink it up!). An alternative closing phrase from the band leader is “Prost ihr Säcke!” (Cheers, you bastards!), to which the crowd replies in unison “Prost du Sack!” (Cheers, you bastard!). Or another
hoi, hoi, hoi
*The H is pronounced.
A variant of this is „Zicke Zacke Hühnerkacke“ (Zickeh, Zackeh, Chickenkaka) this version was adopted from the name of a children’s boardgame that won Game of the Year in 1998. Anyway, now you know more than Jimmy Kimmel. His “ziggy socky, ziggy socky, oy oy oy!” is just bad pronunciation.
Bottom line…these are all German for “A toast, one, two, three, drink, cheers and a bunch of nonsensical sounds that might be shouted at a soccer game. These songs are the sung every year at Oktoberfest in Anaheim and München. Don’t worry. You can’t really get them wrong, because no one has ever sung them sober.