Cheers – Why we say and what to say

By: Vaniitha Jaiin, On: October 19, 2015

Every time one goes out drinking with buddies or to a fancy party it’s customary to say Cheers! and clink glasses or mugs before taking the first sip of their fave tipple. Why does one practice it? The ritual is to express unison in the merry-making and/or raising a toast is to honour someone, so it is believed.


Though, there are many amusing anecdotes revolving around this tradition, which seems to have first happened in the pre-historic era. Do they hold water? Not really, but it surely makes the ritual sound interesting.

  • During the medieval ages it was a common practice for a foe in a friend’s garb to spike the enemy’s drink with poisonous substance. That’s why the Men-In-Robes clinked their drinking vessels. The slamming would spill the wine in each other’s cups, thus putting everyone’s life in jeopardy.
  • Around that time, black magic, sorcery, etc. was widely believed and feared. Clinking of glasses would recreate sounds of church bells, and it would keep demons and witches at bay.
  • In the regime or kings and gods, honouring was a big deal among Ancient Romans and Greeks; back then they raised their drinks to the Gods. Later, the libations were raised to the Emperors and one’s health. And, that’s the way toasting began.
  • Last, but the one that could be true. In the 16th century it was a norm to add a piece of toast / stale bread to the wine to enhance its flavour. Obviously, the literal toasting custom transformed over the years into a sophisticated expression and has become what it is today.

The next time you raise your glass, clink it and say a toast, you know now why you do it. Now, would you like to say Cheers! the way French or Spanish say? Read further…


In Spain you say Salud!

In Italy you say Salute!

In Australia you say Cheers Big Ears!

In Lebanese you say Kesak!

In Holland you say Proost!

In Africa you say Oogy Wawa!

In Japan you say Kampai!

In France you say A Votre Sante!

In Portugal you say Saude!

In Arab you say Fi Sahitak!

In Thailand you say Chock Tee!

So, don’t hold back, raise a toast and say Cheers! the way Romans do!

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