The History of Toasting
Toasting is the strongest and most formal in Germany, Scandinavia and Eastern European countries.
In France, Italy and Spain the toast is even given German names. In Spain and Italy, to toast is called brindar and came from the German phrase “Ich bring dir” which means “I bring it to you”.
In France you will hear them say “trinquer” which comes from the German word “trinken” and means “to drink”.
And just in case you are wondering where the English phrase “toast” comes from, it comes from the practice of floating a piece of burnt toast on top of the wine of the loving cup. The reason for this was that the toast took away some of the acidity of the wine. Years ago wine wasn’t as good as it is today, so this floating piece of burnt toast worked well to tone down the sharpness of the wine. It was an ancient custom that was popular during the roman and Greek times dating as far back as the 6th Century B.C. After the bowl was passed around and shared by all the people, the host would be the last one to drink what was left and this included eating the wine saturated piece of toast. This was always done in honor of the guests.
There are lots of ways that toasts were done in ancient history, but the main point was that it was an offering from man to his Deity (God). Throughout history, man has always expressed his highest honors to the Deity in the form of a drink and the offering of toasts.
How the Toast Started
Many years ago, in Greece, the people would perform what was called a libation. A libation (an alcoholic drink which is offered as a religious ritual) was considered a prayer and a sharing of wine with the gods. They would stand up and while holding a cup full of wine in one hand, look up into the sky, and pray with both arms and cup raised, then drink the wine. Of course, they realized the gods didn’t really share the wine, but they knew their gift was accepted and a connection with the gods were made.