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Toast (honor)

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**History and Origins of Toasting:**
– The custom of touching glasses may have evolved from concerns about poisoning.
– Clinking glasses together could cause each drink to spill over into the others.
– The word ‘toast’ became associated with the custom in the 17th century.
– The term ‘toast’ originally referred to the lady in whose honor the drink was proposed.
– Toasting is likely a secular vestige of ancient sacrificial libations.
– ‘Prost’ is derived from the Latin word ‘prosit,’ meaning ‘be well.’
– The term ‘prosit’ evolved into the colloquial ‘prost.’

**Situations and Occasions for Toasting:**
– Toasts are offered at times of celebration or commemoration.
– Occasions for toasting include holidays, retirements, housewarmings, and births.
– Wedding toasting protocol is elaborate and fixed.
– Traditional wedding toasts may include humorous or sentimental phrases.
– Toasts are also offered on patriotic occasions and can include satiric verses.

**Norms, Etiquette, and Varieties of Toasting:**
– Toasts may be solemn, sentimental, humorous, bawdy, or insulting.
– Announcing intention to make a toast and signaling for quiet by rapping on the wineglass is common.
– A toast is offered standing, and guests may signal approval by saying ‘hear hear.’
– Putting one’s glass down before the toast is complete is impolite.
– Toasting traditionally involves alcoholic beverages.
– Many people substitute sparkling fruit juice for alcoholic drinks.
– It is acceptable to participate in a toast while drinking water.

**Controversies and Views on Toasting:**
– Teetotalers may view drinking toasts as incompatible with their stand.
– Some view the act of toasting with an empty glass as acceptable for non-drinkers.
– The person giving the toast should never do so with an empty glass.
– Inverting the glass is discouraged.
– Some authorities consider it perfectly acceptable to participate in a toast while drinking water.

**Global Toasting Traditions and Variations:**
– Toasting is common in various cultures with themes of good luck or health.
– In Commonwealth countries, the first toast is traditionally the Loyal Toast.
– Examples of toasts worldwide from Albanian to Scottish Gaelic.
– From Mandarin to Spanish, different languages have unique toasting expressions.
– Toasts can range from simple expressions to elaborate phrases, varying in form and significance across cultures.

Toast (honor) (Wikipedia)

A toast is a ritual during which a drink is taken as an expression of honor or goodwill. The term may be applied to the person or thing so honored, the drink taken, or the verbal expression accompanying the drink. Thus, a person could be "the toast of the evening", for whom someone "proposes a toast" to congratulate and for whom a third person "toasts" in agreement. The ritual forms the basis of the literary and performance genre, of which Mark Twain's "To the Babies" is a well-known example.

Wayne Swan, Barack Obama and Julia Gillard toast at a dinner at Parliament House in 2011

The toast as described in this article is rooted in Western culture, but certain cultures outside that sphere have their own traditions in which consuming a drink is connected with ideas of celebration and honor. While the physical and verbal ritual of the toast may be elaborate and formal, merely raising one's glass towards someone or something or clinking glasses with someone else's and then drinking is essentially a toast as well, the message being one of goodwill towards the person or thing indicated.

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