Crystal Stemware: A Toast to Love & Life
Some customs have clear logic behind them, while others are more obscure. Waving hello makes sense as a way of getting someone’s attention, but why, for instance, do we shake hands as a greeting? With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching and millions of romantic dinners to be had in its name, many may be wondering why do we toast drinks at special occasions.
History of Toasting
Simply put, the act of toasting is calling for a drink in honor of something, whether it’s to commemorate a special occasion or achievement, to wish someone good fortune, or to show an act of good will. Drinking together has long been seen as bonding—but where did this concept come from?
Toasting is an ancient tradition. By the time the Roman Empire took over across Europe, toasting had already been around for centuries. Romans and Saxons both inherited this ancient custom from much older peoples—the Greeks, Egyptians, Huns, and even Hebrews. You might even say that toasting is as old as civilization itself.
The original act of toasting is hard to pinpoint. However, the name “toasting” seems to have originated during the reign of the Roman Empire, when guests crumbled actual toast into their wine to soften the bitterness and perhaps add flavor.
In ancient times, being poisoned by wine was a very real concern. Whenever someone hosted an event and led a toast for his guests, drawing attention to the wine and taking the first drink was seen as a way to show that it was safe—to promote friendliness and dissolve suspicion.
Even further back in time, according to the International Handbook on Alcohol and Culture, it appears that toasting may have been used as a part of a religious ritual of sacrificing animals and wine to deities. Clinking glasses was an effort to drive away evil spirits—so the ancient belief that sacrificing the fruit of their labor in the form of a drink in exchange for health and good fortune may have morphed into the toasts of today.
Valentine’s Day: Toasting to Love and Life
When it comes to a romantic dinner though, a toast becomes a very intimate thing. At a wedding, a toast is a performance—you’re taking part in a group ritual of celebration. At a Valentine’s Day dinner, on the other hand, you’re offering up a drink for the health, love, and life of your partner.
Clink your crystal flutes of champagne to ward off negativity, drink to each other’s health, and celebrate each other and your relationship. Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to use this ancient tradition to signify good wishes, positivity, and good luck for the future. When you give a toast for your partner, remember that you’re adding your drink to a long history of toasting—an ancient traditions that represents faith, positivity, and good fortune.