"A blessing. To wish some one good cheer and happiness."
Various stories claim the custom of touching glasses is related to concerns of poisoning. Clinking glasses together causes each drink to spill over into the other thereby discouraging one from poisoning another for fear of mixing beverages. Offering a toast was therefore a gesture of good faith. However, no verification of this has been found.
The International Handbook on Alcohol and Culture says toasting "is probably a secular vestige of ancient sacrificial libations in which a sacred liquid was offered to the gods: blood or wine in exchange for a wish, a prayer summarized in the words 'long life!' or 'to your health!'"
The term "toast" comes from the ancient practice of dropping a piece of burnt bread into wine. One of the first written accounts of it was in Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor when Falstaff demands, “Go fetch me a quart of sack; put a toast in’t.” (He is asking for a large quantity of wine with toast in it.) Toast was put in lower quality wine to temper it. The charcoal soaked up some of the acidity making the wine more palatable.
Drinking joined in celebration spans time and connects cultures. While the physical and / or verbal ritual of a toast may vary - from elaborate and formal to simple and unceremonious - the intent of benevolence and fellowship is universal.
Some new Cheers pieces I created earlier this week:
More will be released soon...
If you have questions or comments I would love to hear them.
Much love to you all!