Is toasting (clinking glasses + good wishes) universal?

Do some, most, all cultures do this? Only alcoholic beverages?

What are the toasting customs where you’re from?

Not sure if its true but I heard the custom originated in days of old when poisoning of enemies via wine was common. To assure both parties sharing a few drinks together that no one was up to evil tricks , each allowed the other to pour some of his drink into his own cup. Or something like that.

I’ve heard European types toast, “chin, chin” and a Polish friend says, " nostrovia". I’m partial to “cheers”.

Twenty ways to say “Cheers!”

When the sitcom ***Cheers! ***was shown in Russia, the title was Do dnya!, literally “To the bottom!” (We would probably say “Bottoms up!”)

Also, according to Sheldon Cooper, the Romans used to put pieces of toast in their punch bowls.

Roman wine was frequently boiled in lead vessels and sweetened with honey, BTW. Ew! :frowning:

Japanese “kanpai” to toast but I don’t know whether they clink, nor whether that’s something traditional or something they added during the modernization push of the 19th century.

This is saying that it was imported from Europe in the 19th century:

I was watching a travel program the other day and the host visited a rural Chinese family at dinnertime. Before they ate they all picked up their glasses (there were at least 10 people seated at the table) and clinked their glasses together. I don’t know what they said, and the host didn’t translate. That’s what prompted this thread question. I didn’t think there would be much influence from European historical sources on a remote Chinese family.

Common here in Mexico. We say saludos. It is expected that you make eye contact.

The Spaniards/Portuguese were in the area since the 1400s, and Britian had a de facto rulership of China starting in the early 1800s.

And of course, China was one end of the Silk Road, so there was always some amount of back-and-forth from ancient times.

The Japanese had influxes of Chinese culture every half dozen centuries or so, going way back (it would take some digging to figure out the peak periods) so the fact that toasting was introduced to Japan around 1850 would make it likely that it was newer to China than ancient times, or else there’s a decent likelihood that it would have been taken up in Japan as well (though, that’s not conclusive). I’d guess that it was introduced to China sometime in the 1500-1800 period, and that’s perfectly sufficient for it to reach the backwaters.

I think toasting is universal, but clinking the glasses together is an American custom.

Apparently, it used to be (and may still be) a no-no to clink beer glasses together in Hungary. So the story goes, a Hungarian rebellion was put down in 1849 by the Austrians, who merrily clinked their beer glasses together as the rebel leaders were executed, and Hungary vowed not to do so for 150 years. Some of the sources I have looked at say it’s still an observed tradition, and some say no one other than overly patriotic old coots give a damn anymore. Be careful on your next pub crawl in Budapest, in any case.

Lived in China and everyone did it saying, “Gan Bei*!”

Clinked glasses, the whole thing.

*Dry cup

I’m told this is also very important in Germany.

The only place I’ve ever heard “chin, chin,” was in the 1986 film Withnail & I.

I’ve been saying it ever since, as Withnail has become my lifestyle guru.

I think I first heard it watching this classic series back in '92.

Be advised: NSFW.

The host explains the rules of the game starting around the 4:00 mark. :cool:

BTW (IIRC), the name of the establishment in the Russian version of Cheers! wasn’t “Do dnya!” (also translated as “Drink up!”) but “bar ‘U Sama’,” literally “by Sam”; or, in French, “Chez Sam.” (We would probably say “Sam’s Place.”)

Yeah, I was living there when the 150 year prohibition was up (which appears to be a time period made up well after-the-fact, from what I can research, but that’s the story you get in Hungary), and my recollection is that some people did start clinking glasses again. It was absolutely a social faux pas to do so in 1998 and I think through 1999, but in 2000 it seemed to not be seen as a mortal sin. Before clinking glasses, the traditional way to do a cheers in Hungary was to nod your mug toward those you are toasting while looking them in the eyes (eye contact was important), along with saying egészségedre (“to your health,” or one of its more specifically conjugated variants like egészségūnkre, “to our health”), tapping the mug on the table instead of clinking, and drinking up.


To life! Traditional Jewish toast.

In Russia you always clink glasses except when the toast is in memory of someone who has died. Then you just raise your glasses instead. In general, Russian drinking culture involves sometimes quite elaborate and lengthy toasts.

Chinese toast and say 干杯 aka “dry the cup” aka bottoms up. Depending on context it may or may not mean chugging the glass. Typically it’s a 4-6 ounce glass. If you go back to the 80’s or 90’s, most restaurants and families didn’t have a separate glass for drinking. But they would have a big ol’ stack of ceramic bowls, which would be your beer glass.

Tibetan’s give an offering to the gods. Dip their left hand ring finger into the drink, then flick a drop back over their shoulders. tres cool.

Germans clink the base of the beer glass and not the top.