As an old legend goes, not looking into someones eye when you raise a toast, might get you 7 years of bad sex. While travelling through Europe, it’s important you don’t run this risk and make sure you get your toasts right depending on which country you’re in. So here’s a quick primer to the continent’s toasts.
If in Ireland, it’s Slainte you should be saying, when you’re raising up that glass of Guinness, Irish Whiskey or cream liqueur. It literally means “health” and can also be used in Scotland. You should pronounce it thus, “slawn-cha wy”, and you might just get a pretty Irish lass or lad hooked.
Many moons ago, a consultant friend of mine, visited Norway for his Consultant boot camp training. As a part of one of their team dinners, consultants from all around the world, were asked to raise a toast as per their native lands customs. This being pre Tulleeho days :), my friend said what he thought was the closest approximation, which was the Hindi word “Chadao” (literally meaning to raise high). He raised his glass high, and stone drunk, collapsed on the table!
In Scandinavia, they say Skal for Cheers, a word which actually means “bowl” and goes back to a more community driven time, when everyone gathered around one big bowl to drink. From Scandinavia, lets hop across to practical Germany, where the Germans while downing those large steins of beer, say Prost, which keeping the practical Germans in mind, means, “may it be beneficial to you”! In Poland, you may be drinking their justly famous vodka and in the Czech republic some fine Pilsner beer, but it’s Na zdrowie ! which binds them together (pronounced Naz-dro-vyeh).
If at a loss in Italy as you sip on a sundowner of Campari and Soda, it’s Salute, you should be saying, In Spain they have a similar ring with Salud being what you should ring out, as you noisily down glasses of Sherry and wolf down plates of Tapas. Funnily enough Salud is also what you say when someone sneezes. Go figure!