Perhaps, now it isn’t easy to imagine any holiday or feast without the clink of glasses. The tradition of clinking glasses is pretty old, it was invented to show respect to those present, and in some cases, even to ensure the safety of people’s lives. There is a sign that a husband and wife should not clink glasses so as not to lose their minds. Some believe that spouses should not be the last to clink glasses, as this can lead to quarrels or divorce
At this time, people clink glasses, paying tribute to this tradition, in order to enhance the holiday atmosphere and cheer up a little. This gesture helps to unite in a circle created from glasses, meet the eyes of the people around, and also support a toast or pleasant words with a sound.
During pagan times, people believed in the existence of various deities, as well as evil spirits. It was believed that evil spirits were present in crowded places, respectively, and at various feasts, who were frightened off by bell ringing. But this was not always available, so our ancestors used improvised means, namely cups. By the way, at that time, the cups were made of metal and wood, so the ringing from them was quite loud and frightening.
It was believed that any evil spirit could get through the mouth when a person opens it to drink from his glass. An evil spirit, having settled inside, could influence consciousness and control a person’s life. To prevent this, people came up with such a tradition, which we use with pleasure to this day, albeit with a different meaning of this ritual.
However, there are countries in which they still believe that before you drink, you need to scare away evil spirits. For example, in Africa, special small bells are used to scare away evil spirits. They are called before they start drinking.
The knightly tradition
Among the knightly table of the entourage of King Charlemagne, there was a tradition – to bring cups of drinks to the very center of the table, loudly, that there is strength, clinking glasses with each other. In this case, such a ritual was performed not to scare away spirits but to emphasize the unity, invincibility, respect, and strength of brotherhood.
Some sources say that the knights came up with this tradition, but this is not the case. They simply borrowed it, putting a new meaning there, closer to them in spirit.
Nowadays, they clink glasses only for fun and amusement, but this tradition was a guarantee of safety in the old days. Since antiquity, the rite of clinking glasses has appeared. This was because the power struggle was often accompanied by the mixing of poison into the alcoholic drinks of competitors and already acting rulers.
Basically, the poison was mixed during feasts since there the victim could relax, get drunk and lose vigilance. No one knew from whom one could expect meanness, the enemy could be anyone, even from the closest circle of people. Anyone wishing death to the king or someone from the nobility could simply sit side by side at the table.
For greater safety and protection from poisoning, the owner or the head of the table was the first to drink a little drink from a common jug, and after that, he poured wine into goblets to everyone present and to the very edges.
Before sipping their glass, all those gathered clinked glasses with such force that the alcohol, filled to the brim, splashed, falling into the cups of others, as well as on the food at this table. So, if at least one of the goblets contained poison, then everyone present could have suffered, including the person who wanted to poison the ruler.
If someone refused to clink glasses or drink, they immediately began to suspect him of criminal intentions and say that he did not respect the people present at the feast. There was also a tradition to exchange their goblets with wine. No one knew who would get what, so it was almost impossible to guess with the poison. Again, if a person refused to exchange glasses, it was a sign that the person was unclean in his thoughts or considered a coward who, moreover, offends the host of the feast.
But among the ordinary population, this tradition arose purely from copying the behavior of its rulers and masters. In general, as in our time, for fun. So the tradition has survived to this day, took root, and fell in love in many countries of the world. The only thing that has changed over time in the modern world is the rules of etiquette of this, at first glance, uncomplicated tradition.
Rules of clinking glasses
Each country has its own rules for the tradition of clinking glasses. To not seem ill-mannered and uncivilized, it is necessary to follow these rather simple rules, so to speak, table etiquette.
By the way, in the modern world, they are not so strict about the implementation of these rules, especially if close friends or relatives gather at the table. But there are still people who try to adhere to the rules and superstitions associated with this tradition.
Initially, it was customary to clink glasses only with alcoholic beverages, especially it looks exquisite with glasses in which champagne or wine is splashing. These drinks, like the wine glasses themselves, emphasize the solemnity and atmosphere of the holiday. But in our time, it is allowed to clink glasses with juice or water, because teetotal people do not want to break away from the team and the general fun. It is considered bad manners to clink glasses with a bottle or a can, so the contents must be poured into a glass in advance or, in extreme cases, into a glass.
It is necessary to hold the glass at the level of the companion’s eyes or slightly lower. But in no case should you raise it above your head, as this is considered bad form. It is also very important to look into the eyes of a person during the meeting of glasses, it will not be superfluous to smile a little.
Men, while drinking glasses with a boss, a woman, an important guest, a person older in age or rank, need to hold their glass slightly lower than this person. In this way, he shows his reverence and respect. By the way, a woman should not be the first to reach for a man with a glass.
The distance for this ritual should not exceed the length of an outstretched arm. It is considered bad form to reach across the table with a glass in hand. If possible, it is better to get up and walk up to the person you want to reach. Or just raise your glass a little in your hand, smiling at this person, adding a slight nod of your head, thus indicating your respect.
To get a beautiful and melodic clink of glasses, they must be held by the leg, since when the girth is at the top, the sound will be muffled, and besides, it will leave ugly fingerprints. In no case should you stick out your fingers while holding the glass. You need to hit the glass against the glass with the upper but not the lower edge.
If unfamiliar people are at a celebration or an official reception, you can not clink glasses or do it occasionally, since this tradition is considered more friendly and family-friendly. It is customary in some families and companies to clink glasses only after the first toast, then everyone drinks from his glass whenever he wants, and in some – after each.
Superstitions and omens
It is forbidden to clink glasses with glasses at a memorial dinner. In the old days, our ancestors believed that the sound from the collision of wine glasses could scare away the soul of the deceased, and then it would be difficult for him to find peace. And nowadays, it is not customary to hit a glass against a glass because this ritual is associated with a holiday and joy, and commemoration is a sad occasion for a meeting.
There is a sign that a husband and wife should not clink glasses so as not to lose their minds. Some believe that spouses should not be the last to clink glasses, as this can lead to quarrels or divorce. In the last place, girls should clink glasses with a stranger’s man, preferably single, this will help attract family happiness and financial well-being into their lives.
In some countries, the third toast is especially distinguished. It is he who is drunk for love or for women. Moreover, the glass must be held in the left hand, as it is closer to the heart. Some girls believe that if you raise your legs a little during this toast, then love will be unearthly. Many people are skeptical about such things, but still, try to follow them, and suddenly it will help.
Traditions in different countries
Each country has certain words to accompany the clinking of glasses. In Ukraine, they say “budmo”, in Russia “Na Zdorovie” or “cheers,” in Italy “cin-cin,” in England “cheers,” in China “gān bēi,” in Spain “salud”, in Israel “לחיים”, in South Africa “Gesondheid”, and in Norway “skål”. In some countries, they simply call the name of the person with whom they are going to touch glasses.
Also, in many countries, the etiquette of raising a glass is different. In Sweden, the owner of the house or the hero of the occasion is always the first to raise the glass. In France, they clink glasses in turn with absolutely everyone present, always looking into the eyes of their counterpart.
In China, it is very important to show your respect, so a person who is younger in rank or age touches a senior or important guest with a bowl on the stem of the glass. But in Japan, there is no such tradition of clinking glasses at all.