The Story of Making a Toast

Zentralbild Krueger 29.12.1953 Str.-Ho. Silvester 1953. Ein Prosit auf das neue Jahr!

What do you know about making a toast?

Now, before you go on reading it, tell yourself what you think first when you hear ‘making a toast’.

You have the answer. Go on reading 🙂Here is a well burnt toast. If you thought of making a toast using bread, cheese and some sausage, I’ll not give you the recipe for the best toast you can make at home. No, far from it. I will tell you about the one with drinks.

Beer Toasting This is the one I’m talking about.

‘I would like to propose a toast.’ This is the phrase we usually use. Or people we see on movies or TV shows say it. Then a, usually, heartbreaking, emotional, funny speech follows. After the speech, we all applaud, and maybe cry a little. Why? Because we are usually moved by the speech. Then, of course, everybody drinks.

Making a toast is the act of two or more glasses filled with alcoholic drinks meeting in the air, clashing into each other and making a sound. Then they make a toast.

Let me tell you a story about it. Long long time ago, most probably in the medieval times, when people didn’t want an open combat and wanted to kill their opponents or foes, they used poison. Usually in a drink or meal. It sounds a bit scary, right. But it’s not. I’ll restart the story.

Swiss people toastingFrançois Jaques: Peasants Enjoying Beer at Pub in Fribourg (Switzerland, 1923)

Long long time ago, most probably in the medieval times or even before, people usually went to pubs and bars on their way home or before going to bed at inns, where they were staying the night. They’d also meet their friends and/or foes at those places as well. They’d sit and talk and drink with them. At times, they’d go out and duel with their foes.

Sometimes the drinks were served, sometimes one had to bring it from the bar. It was also common to use poison to kill a foe.

At those times, this tradition came in place, most probably at some Germanic town. When one brings the drinks, in order to show that one does not mean no harm to the other, one would hold up one’s drink. Then both would make a toast, looking into each other’s eyes. This would, back then, mean that one meant no harm to the other and that toasting was from one’s heart.

When people made toast, the drinks would spill from one mug to the other and exchange places. I mean their drinks would kind of mix up. You may be a bit confused. With today’s glasses, they’d shatter with a toast like that. Back then, the glasses were not made of glass but metal. So, metal mugs would crash into each other but only bend a little. Not smash into small pieces.

There is another aspect of making a toast. While toasting, both persons should look one another in the eye. If one would look away, not look in the other’s eyes, the other would think that either something was up or that this person was not sincere in the toast making.

Zentralbild Krueger 29.12.1953 Str.-Ho. Silvester 1953. Ein Prosit auf das neue Jahr!

A photo from 1953, Christmas celebrations in Germany.

Another thing was that both should drink it after making the toast. Since the drinks spilled from both glasses to the other one, they would have the same ingredients. If poisoned, both glasses were now poisoned. Not drinking meant that one was faking it or was up to no good.

So, after learning the story behind making a toast, go now and make a toast with a friend. Do not forget to keep looking each other’s eyes, while making the toast. If not, beware. Your friend may want to poison you 🙂

Well, the main reason I wanted to tell you about Toastmasters. But I told you about the origins of making a toast. Or rather the story behind making a toast. In the next one, I’ll tell more about a toast speech. Wait for it 🙂

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