Different Ways Each Country Cheers Before They Drink
Have you ever traveled to a different part of the world or met someone of another race and wished you could speak their language? Well, in this article, we at Social Scene will teach you a few words which may just save your life on your next social event.
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“Cheers!” This word has been heard in bars, pubs, restaurants, and almost anywhere else you can imagine. When used as a toast, it means good wishes (before drinking). Other synonyms include: here’s to you; good health; your health; and informally, bottoms up! The practice of saying cheers dates back centuries and is usually accompanied by the clinking of glasses filled with wine, beer, whiskey, tequila, champagne, or any other alcoholic drink, and even water. The gesture of clinking glasses seems cool nowadays, but the story behind it is that this was initially done for more practical reasons. One of which is to ensure that a little of each person’s drink spills to the others, thereby discouraging anyone from trying to kill someone with a poisoned drink.
The custom and tradition of saying ‘cheers!’ has since gone around the world. In an article posted at bravotv.com, Sharon Schweitzer, a culture and international etiquette expert gives us a little glimpse on how to say cheers around the world. Let’s travel and take a look at the many different ways each country says cheers before they drink.
South Africa: South Africans say “gesondheid” (pronounced: Ge-sund-hate) which means “to your health.”
China: In China, “干杯” (Gān bēi pronounced: Gan bay) means “bottoms up,” while “Kai pay” means “empty your glass.” So make it a point to empty your glass in one go every time you do a shot in China. If you want to discontinue the bottoms-up approach, just say “sui bian,” which means, “Please proceed your way, and I will do it my way.”
France: In France, the French say “Santé! / À votre santé!” (pronounced: Sahn-tay / Ah la vo-tre sahn-tay). These French words mean “to your health.” Maintain eye contact as you clink glasses, Sharon Schweitzer advises. And only take a drink after you’ve acknowledged everyone present with a direct gaze and hearty toast.
Germany: In Germany, the Germans say “prost” or “zum wohl” (pronounced: prohst / tsum vohl) while clinking glasses and giving off a friendly smile. Germans have a lot to be happy for as beer in this region is known as one of the best in the world.
Greece: In Greece, the proper toast depends on the occasion, says Sharon Schweitzer. “Stinygiasou” means “to your health,” and is an informal toast offered to one person. “Eis igian sas” also translates “to your health,” however this is reserved for formal occasions where three or more people are gathered. “Kali epitihia” is said when wishing someone good luck and success.
Italy: In Italy, you can take your pick from “salute,” “alla salute,” and “cin-cin." (pronounced: sah-lu-teh/ ah-lah sah-lu-teh/ chin-chin) All of them mean “to your health” and may be said at any occasion.
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Japan: In Japan, “乾杯” (Kanpai pronounced: Kan-pie) means “cheers” or “empty the glass.” The host of the event may offer the first of many toasts after everyone's meal has been served.
South Korea: In South Korea, toasting is done with the host offering the first toast and the guest of honor returning the gesture. At formal events, the custom is to lift the glass with your right hand while using your left hand to support the forearm. A toast of “건배! (geonbae meaning “bottoms up”) is usually said, except on formal occasions where the toast is “위하여” (wihayeo meaning “health and prosperity”).
Russia: In Russia, “Будем здоровы/ На здоровье” (pronounced: Budem zdorovi/ Na zdorovie) means “to your health.” Russians are known to toast before every round of drinks in a very particular order. The first toast starts with the host thanking the guests then stating the reason why everyone has gathered together as it is not customary to drink without reason. The second toast is generally to honor one’s parents, and the third is to thank the host. Afterwards, a number of toasts will be proposed no matter the occasion.
Spain: In Spain, people drink to your health with a hearty “salud!” Often, “salud y amor y tiempo para disfrutarlo” (meaning “to health and love, and time to enjoy it”) is used.
Sweden: In Sweden, the proper Swedish toast is “skal” which means “cheers.” This is used at both formal and informal occasions. Similar to many European cultures, the host makes the first toast and is followed by those senior in age or in rank. Everyone raises their glasses, make eye contact with the recipient of the toast, and then take a drink.
Get out and spread more cheer
Drinking is a fantastic social activity. Many bonds and lifetime relationships are formed over good conversation and a tall glass or bottle of your favorite drink. You now have the words to use when you want to spread some cheer. Go out and use it. Also, be at one in our tasting festivities and events. Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone speak your language? Cheers!
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