The gentle clinking of silver to crystal can silence even the liveliest party. Obedient guests the world over will raise their glasses in salute of the host, a happy couple, an honoree or fellow guests. On this occasion, let’s raise our glasses …to toasts!
Before we sip our champagne, let’s take a moment to reflect on the tradition of toasting. In ye olden days of yore, everyone from kings and priests to nomads and shepherds drank deeply to honor deities, elders and warriors. Rites and rituals changed with cultures and regions. Our cheerful clinking of glasses was originally meant to ward off evil spirits, and in some cultures, looking away during a toast was a sign of poor character. America’s toasts most likely evolved from an ale house custom in Elizabethan England. A bowl of mead or wine came with a floating piece of spiced or sweetened toast. After the bowl was emptied, the host ate the toast in honor of his guests.
Today we toast at nearly every occasion. From crystal flutes filled with champagne to paper cups filled with apple juice, there is a toast to suit. Wedding toasts are perhaps the most rehearsed and revered, but words of advice, humor and love are welcome at almost every occasion. They can be a simple “cheers” or elaborately researched and poetic speeches. Often an impromptu toast from the heart is the most memorable and touching. Don’t wait until the next holiday! Raise your glass to your mother at lunch, your best friend at afternoon coffee, and your family tonight at dinner. Here’s to you!
Cheers! Skål! Kampai! Salud! Here are some of Paula’s favorite toasts.
There are very few moments in life as good as this. Let’s remember it. To each of us and all of us, never have we been more close, may we never be farther apart.
-Hugh Marlowe as Lloyd Richards in All About Eve
Here’s looking at you, kid.
-Humphrey Bogart as Rick in Casablanca
Stir the eggnog, lift the toddy, Happy New Year, everybody.
May you live to be 100 and may the last voice you hear be mine.
May the road rise up to meet you,
May the wind be ever at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rain fall soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.
-Traditional Gaelic toast
I would rather be with the people of this town than with the finest people in the world.
-Fred Willard as Mayor Deebs in Roxanne
I love ya, I ain’t above ya, but I’m tired of ya.