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Traditional Toast


Photo: Thomas Northcut / Photodisc / Getty Images
Definition: The term toasting is used in reference to music, cooking, holidays, weddings, and other celebrations and achievements of life.

In Western culture, a toast at weddings, anniversaries, and other life events is a ritual that shows honor, respect, congratulations, good health, happiness, and a hopeful future for the person or persons the toast is directed to. To make a coast, generally someone at the party or event gets everyone's attention, raises a glass, and proposes a toast. Others raise their glasses or touch their glasses together in agreement with the toast. A toast can be between many people and between just two people.

While toasts are generally sentimental and encouraging, they may also be humorous, serious, and depending on the event, rude or insulting. Some toasts are silent ones and just raising a glass to someone is a gesture of acknowledgement.

Many popular toasts are very short ones.
  • "Hip, Hip, Hooray."
  • "LeChaim" -- which means "to life."
  • "To your health."
  • "Peace."
  • "Live long and prosper." ~ Mr. Spock.
  • "Cheers."
  • "I drink to you."
  • "Here's to cheer."
  • "May God be with you and bless you."
  • “Never let yesterday use up too much of today.” ~ Will Rogers.
  • "Let us eat, drink, and be merry."

    We thought the toast given to Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly at their wedding by Robert B. Reich was a classic example of personalizing a toast. He said, “To a bride who moves at a velocity that exceeds that of anyone else in Washington, and a groom who moves at a velocity that exceeds 17,000 miles per hour.”
    Source: Judith Anderson. "Vows: Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly." NYTimes.com. 12/2/2007.

    We loved the toast the bride made to her groom in the movie Leap Year. The bride challenged the groom to never steal, lie or cheat. "But if you must steal," she says, "then steal away my sorrows. And if you must lie, lie with me all the nights of my life. And if you must cheat, then please cheat death ... because I couldn't live without you."
    Source: Leap Year. IMDB.com. 2010. Compare Prices

    A toast with similar wording is in Hitch when he says "Never lie, steal, cheat, or drink. But if you must lie, lie in the arms of the one you love. If you must steal, steal away from bad company. If you must cheat, cheat death. And if you must drink, drink in the moments that take your breath away."
    Source: Hitch. IMDB.com. 2005. Compare Prices

    There are many variations of this toast. Here are two more:
    "May you never lie, steal, cheat or drink. But if you must lie, lie in each other's arms. If you must steal, steal kisses. If you must cheat, cheat death. And if you must drink, drink with us, your friends."
    Source: Old Irish Drinking Toast. Yahoo.com.

    "May you never lie, cheat or drink. But if you must lie, lie with each other. And if you must cheat, cheat death. And if you must drink, drink with us for we all love you and wish you both the love and happiness of which you deserve."
    Source: Classic Wedding Toasts. Weddings.about.com.

    More on Toasting:

  • Toasting Facts
  • A Guide to Toasting
  • Toasts for All Occasions
  • Toasts to the Irish
  • Samples of Wedding Toasts
  • All About Wedding Toasts
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