Why do we toast by bumping the glasses ?

The tradition of bumping the glasses before to start drinking

Why do we toast by bumping the glasses ? This tradition was born in ancient Rome, when it was not unlikely that some very nice guests mixed the drinks with venom.

At the time, bumping glasses was less delicated and gentle than it is now because they didn’t have glass goblets. It was also stronger because this way, the drops spilled could contaminate the other glasses and mix with the wine of the other guest, to indicate that no one was scared of being poisoned. This way, everyone was sure to be safe.


In that historical time it was very common to poison the food: it was the easyest way to kill someone without being discovered and arrested. But that’s not all! In ancient Greece the master of the house used to start the banquets or the celebrations raising his goblet and saying the expression “Alla salute”. This expression is literally translated with “To health”. It was his way to reassure everyone that they were safe!

It’s good practice to start a toast with a good luck speech pronounced aloud.

Ad Maiora!

In the past it was very popular the expression “Prosit”, a latin expression which comes from the word “prodesse”, that wishes for the toast to be beneficial.

Another common toast was “Ad Maiora”: this is a latin locution literally translated with “towards greater things”. This expression is still used with the same meaning, usually used at the end of a study path, a conversation or to start a cheer.

More recently, it’s also used the expression “Cin Cin”, a chinese saying introduced by european sailors in their continent.
A good way to start a friendship around the world is to learn how to toast together, in their language, sharing a glass “Alla salute” or at the happiness of the moment!

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Useful links:

Cheers: the tradition


Let’s rise a toast together


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