Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Art of Toasting

The history and origin of toasting, whether it be the clinking of glasses or an abbreviated dedication speech, goes far back – like the time of Shakespeare and ancient Greece back.  The ritual was meant to honor or wish good health upon someone.  Over the years, toasting had evolved and gained more purpose:
  • Share Poison
    • Envision “Game of Thrones”, when everyone is out to get everyone.  Pouring poison into one’s drink became a popular attempt for murder.  It occurred so often that people began clinking their glasses together in hopes to spill the poison into the other glass.  Now both parties would be doomed.
  • Sign of Respect
    • In some cultures, mostly European, cheering to one another meant honor and gratitude.  It was a greeting from the party to the host, and from the host to the party.
  • Prevention of Bad Luck
    • Toasting, for the superstitious, had resulted in fear of facing cursed or unfortunate luck.  French traditions require eye contact during the toast or one could be cursed for seven years with bad sex.

Today, it naturally marks the beginning of a good time.

To me, I find a special magic in raising your glass with friends and cheering.  It’s like a form of bonding in a universal language.  Just think about it.  With a simple gesture and one simple word, you have just shared a moment.  For example, a wedding toast from a Best Man or a Maid of Honor probably educated the rest of the party with a fun fact that no one may have known about the couple.  The memory of that toast will forever be shared with everyone present at that time.  In other words, strangers become friends and friends become greater friends because of this moment.  Call me crazy, but I have met many international friends this way. 

While the rest of the world may think that American teenagers are the wilder of the bunch, I may beg to differ.  The average legal drinking age around the world is 18 years old.  Perhaps, it’s their maturity that sets them apart.  Perhaps it’s their sense of cheering to live in the moment that has shed a new light on me.  My international friends were awesome, to say the least.  They were studying abroad so maybe they had fewer responsibilities than average American me.  Regardless, I had learned a lot from them, including global cheering traditions.
  • Prost
    • German for “cheers”.  Add this to your vocabulary, and you’ll be set for Oktoberfest.
  • Arriba, Arriba, Arriba (don't forget to roll those Rs)
    • Spanish slang for “go, go, go”.  My friend from Spain would say this before any shot taken.  She said her family always says it to get the energy flowing.
  • En Boca al Lupo
    • Italian for “in the mouth of the wolf”.  This is a term used to encourage others to survive in the mouth of the wolf (aka “good luck”)
  • Mabuhay
    • Tagalog (Filipino) for “life” or “long live”.  When I heard my friends say this so proudly, it gave it a new meaning.  Now, when I hear it, I think of living greatly and living for the moment.  My family usually says “cheers”, but as of recent, we tried to revive this tradition

As a celebration connoisseur, cheering and toasting are very much in my realm.  When there’s a toast, it usually means that you’ve got something to say.  Someone could be bringing attention to new beginnings, congratulating someone, or even just simply appreciating something or someone.  It truly is a moment, and sometimes we move so fast that we forget to live in these moments that are worth sharing.  Also, more often than not, you’re probably in good company – so there really is no going wrong!




  1. This post reminded me of the many nights I spent inside dimly lit whiskey bars in Japan. Japanese people love their karaoke and their whiskey - and not necessarily in that order! Great post! Here's me raising my glass of wine to you - kanpai!

    1. Kanpai! Thanks Carlos! Karaoke and whiskey is a tradition we'll have to try because I have no doubt in the Japanese culture that it's a definite good time. Filipinos love their karaoke as well. I wonder if it's an activity popular all across Asia...