origin of tradition of Breaking glasses after drinking??

I would like to know where this tradition comes from. I know it is present all over Europe. Some Jews do it, some Christians do it, the Greeks apparently do it, and I read that in the navy you break your glass after a toast to ensure that no lesser toast is toasted with that glass (or something like that). I know next to nothing about this peculiar tradition, but can anyone shed some light on it?


The Greeks in Zorba the Greek broke plates.

The toasting glass is broken at Jewish weddings. The breaking, IIRC, signifies the destruction of the Temple, while each piece of glass represents the number of happy years the newly-wedded couple will have (so stomp hard!).

As to why the other glasses are broken, you said it yourself–to prevent the glass from being used for a lesser toast.

An alternate, more modern, interpretation of breaking the glass at the Jewish wedding is that the happy couple should be reminded that there is always something unhappy involved i.e., there will be sadness and loss at points in your married life, but you will get over it. Imagine, starting your married life with GUILT!!!

FWI, at many Jewish weddings a lightbulb is used instead of a glass. Two reasons 1) cheaper 2) easier to break 3) smaller glass shards are less likely to go through your shoe. Damn! Three! Three Reasons!.. Amongst the reasons are…

FWI v2.0, At my wedding, the Cantor made a big, soft, fluffy, billowing wrap for the light bulb. When I brought my foot down (in a wonderful Bruce Lee move) I hit the side of the light bulb “stem” and twisted my ankle. I then stood on my bad ankle while I tried again with my good foot, praying that I broke it lest I’d have to smash it with my forehead! ;j (Yippee!! I finally got to use this smiley!!!

I wouldn’t be surprised if the tradition had been started by someone in the glass industry.