There is no doubt that the toast is one of the most deeply rooted traditions at the time of drinking wine (or any other spirit drink). So much so, how rare is the person who has not provided some time in life.
As any reader knows, it is offered at special events or at any gathering of friends or family; for something that has been achieved or for something that has to happen; for an honoree or simply for love. Reasons there are thousands, as many as enjoying a drink in the company of loved ones. But where does this centennial – and even millennial – custom come from? ¿What is the origin of the toast?
From Greek mythology …
Theories of the origin of the toast there are a few and perhaps the one that has the most weight takes us to times of Carlos I of Spain and V of Germany, but let’s travel back in time even further, to the Classic Greece. Back then, the god of fertility and wine was the playful Dionysus, who one fine day wanted to entertain the rest of the gods with a banquet that they would never forget. In him, the drink over which he had supreme power would have a special importance, so he prepared the best possible wine for his guests to enjoy with all their senses.
However, there was a sense that generally did not participate. Although it was tasted with taste, the color was observed with the eye, its softness was noted with the touch of the tongue and the aromas were enjoyed with the smell, what to do with the ear? So Dionysus proposed to clink glasses so that the wine could also be heard.
No poisons please
Beyond this mythological legend, apparently both the Greeks and the Romans were toasting show your guests total confidenceSince there were times when the best way to get rid of an unwanted diner was through poisoning. Therefore, the host raised his glass, toasted and drank the first to show that what was in it was as innocuous as the content of the others. Also, the fact of making them collide caused that liquids will splash from each other and thus it was clear that there was nothing to fear.
Without moving from Ancient Rome, where the aristocracy was very given to organizing all kinds of celebrations in which wine took on a special relevance, it seems that those who enjoyed such pantagruélicos banquets made their glasses clink with the aim that the service will listen to you and approached its position to refill them when the wine was scarce inside. And it is that, the reigning hubbub must have been of whoops.
We leave the Old Age and go ahead in time to the aforementioned Carlos I. In the second war he had against France and King Francisco I, the imperial army won the victory in Rome (Pope Clement VII was an ally of Francis), a source of rejoicing for soldiers and officers. The latter filled their glasses with wine and offered victory to the monarch by raising them and pronouncing the phrase bring dir’s, which more or less meant “I offer it to you.” Over time, the expression became popular and became “Castilianized” until the current toast.
Raising the glasses all over the world
Whatever the origin of the toast, what seems clear is that it has spread throughout the world and rare is the place where you do not toast something with a drink. Of course, customs are not the same everywhere, since there are places and social environments in which the fact of clinking glasses is a symbol of rudeness. For example in Hungary that clash is even considered offensive, as it reminds him of a certain victory for the Austrians. So if you visit the country, don’t ever do it.
Whereas in Germany, where the most correct thing is to say prost (our equivalent of “health”) while you are toasting while looking into the eyes of the other diners, it is not polite for two couples toast forming a cross.
For its part, in France, what you should not do is drink before toasting (In Spain it is not the most appropriate either) or fill more than half the glass.
However, in China the glass is filled to the top and you must not raise your arm more than the host or other older people with whom you share the toast.
And if there is a place where toasting is almost a religion, that is Georgia. In their celebrations, there are so many toasts that are made that they even hire specialists called tamadas, who are in charge of the organization of this tradition and who compete to be the most witty.