As everyone celebrated the holidays with food and family, popping open bottles of wine and bubbly, did anyone think about why we clink glasses and toast each other? Does anyone notice that at the end of each post I write “Cin Cin”? Admittedly, clinking glasses is something I do automatically, without thinking; it is something I learned early on, never really giving it much thought either.
Funny enough, it is believed this custom began back in medieval times as a way to prevent poisoning. Clinking glasses would cause liquid from one glass to spill into the other glass, hence proving the host was not intentionally trying to poison their guests. The sound also made by the glasses (back then wooden or clay mugs) was said to be a celebratory sound. Unfortunately, these are just stories and there is no recorded proof.
Another very popular story comes from the 17th century in which the word toast comes from the custom of flavoring drinks, like wine, with a piece of spiced toast. Hence the term toasting came into use. The most common toast you will hear around the world is “to health”. You will hear Salud (Spanish), Salute’ (Italian), Sante’ (French), or Zum Wohl (German). The often heard, L’Chayyim (Hebrew), is a traditional Jewish toast and means “to life”. The word “Cheers” is all-encompassing, expressing “good wishes” to the recipient. “Cin Cin” is the equivalent of cheers and the most popular way to toast in Italy, but to Italians is less formal than Salute’ and glasses should not be clinked, but just raised.
So let’s raise, clink, spill (hey, you never know!) our glasses together to a happy and healthy 2019! Cheers, Salud, Salute’, Sante’, Zum Wohl and L’Chayyim to you all!