You’re in a party, then suddenly your friends gathered around, raised their glasses of wine, and gently bumped it with each other. Cheers! You just witnessed a toast. This act of celebratory clinking of glasses called a toast originated from hundreds of years. However, there is no specific information written in our history books as to when did it arise.
The celebratory toasting of drinks is present in our culture in so many ways – television shows, movies, books, music, and several others. We can often see the toast in many forms of celebration, mainly during parties, wedding ceremonies, and gatherings that celebrate success.
Toasting our drinks are a sign of optimism, happiness, and triumph. Various countries all over the globe are aware of this tradition, and most of these countries still perform this clinking of glasses until today.
There are various claims about the origins of toasting our drinks. In this article, we are going to look further into how this small act of celebration started. When did it begin? What is its initial purpose?
The history of a celebratory toast
As mentioned earlier, there are several claims as to how the celebratory toast started. Some people said that it all originated in the ancient Greek, wherein they use the clinking of the glass as a sign of a clean drink – which meant that their drink is non-poisonous. It was common in the early times that a way to secretly kill an enemy is to poison their drinks. Because of this, people became distrustful with each other, and offering a drink to someone has never become more difficult. One person must pour a drink from a pitcher then drink it – a test whether it is poisonous or not. If it is not toxic, the person will then raise his or her glass to invite the others to follow; thus, creating a toast. Although there is no definite evidence or black and white document, indicating that this claim is valid.
A more reasonable explanation for the origins of this practice is the ritualistic libations done by the ancient people. There are facts that we know today that explains how the ancient Greek made sacrificial libations to gods, along with a wish. They exercise this tradition of pouring their drinks as an offering and honor to gods. However, there is no historical record as to who is the first person that made the toast or introduced the idea of toasts.
Throughout the years, toasting became more popular and used as an honoring for people. Then it came to the 17th and 18th centuries.
The 17th and 18th centuries are like the golden age for toasting. It was a common practice for ceremonies and various gatherings. An interestingly weird fact about the early tradition of toasting is that in every gathering, there would be a moderator, also known as the toastmasters. The influence of this tradition spread in different Western countries and is typically present in most events. Because of this, toastmasters came into the scene, wherein their primary role is to moderate and control the toasting in a gathering. As useless as it seems, toastmasters are essential in gatherings because, without them, guests would freely toast with every person in the room, which in return, will make them drunk.
There are many other claims and known history about the traditional toast. Today, we still often see this practice in different events, and sometimes on the television. It is most common in wedding ceremonies, wherein it takes place after the successful exchange of vows, indicating a celebration for the newlyweds. Some people use this celebratory toast as social status and sign of respect. During an event, it is sometimes normal for people to ask for a toast to other guests, after announcing positive news. The person will raise his or her glass, indicating a toast, and the rest of the people would follow.
These are some of the standard practices of toasting. And apparently, it is still a well-known tradition today, mainly to Western countries, as well as to other countries in various parts of the globe. We may not know its exact origins; Thankfully, its influence paved its way over the years, and now, we can enjoy a glass of wine and let’s toast for this beautiful tradition.