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October 04, 2018 3 min read
Na Zdrowie / How To Say Cheers and Toast in Polish When Drinking
Toasting when drinking is an important element of every culture, so read on to discover how to say cheers and more about the polish toasting procedure. Na zdrowie!
Saying Cheers and Toasting in Polish When Drinking - Na Zdrowie!
There are certain cultural and language essentials you need to learn when visiting or exploring a country, like saying hello and goodbye, how to show you’re grateful and also what to do or not to do to insult someone. Toasting, believe it or not, falls into that same category, and even more so in Poland, where you, alike other European countries, are encouraged to drink to show you’re celebrating certain events, successes or sealing the deal. Even if you don’t speak a word of Polish, knowing exactly what to say during drinking and how to even say cheers, could get you farther than learning how to ask for directions ever would.
The procedure is simple, but it depends on your company. During more official gatherings, the host will be the one to offer the first toast, and you should restrain from drinking until then. If your host stands up when toasting, you should too. When drinking in informal company, before taking the first sip, you all raise your glass and say: Na zdrowie, which translates as to health, meaning that you wish everyone present longevity. Often one person makes a toast or just says the phrase, and then others follow in response. Na zdrowie is the most common phrase used, but you will likely come across. Sto lat meaning a hundred years, wishing everyone that they live to an old age. This is often used in more formal events, such as birthdays, weddings, or even public or state celebrations. Za nas as to us, is also a variation, and more an informal one, when you are around friends you know well. During these friendly occasions, you can also think of your own things to say during toasting, and you can be both creative and funny, as long as you are wishing everyone present well.
Although toasting can be found mostly in Western cultures, many nations around the world do the same - like the Japanese kanpai. When it comes to the custom of clinking glasses together, some sources say it derives from the fear of poisoning, common in the first centuries of our civilization. Touching glasses made drinks spill from one glass to another, meaning that even if one drinker were to be poisoned, the other one would to, which minimized the threat of anyone even having the idea of trying to kill their companion. Others say that toasting was invented as a way to offer sacrifice to the gods - the person doing so, would pour wine or blood and say a prayer or a wish, like long life.
Now, going back to Poland, you might be thinking what the drinks consumed during toasting are. The answer is simple - alcoholic beverages are most common, like champagne or wine during formal events, or vodka and beer during those informal. Of course, if you are not drinking alcoholat all, you will be a part of the toast as well, but it’s unlikely to be the one to propose a toast with non alcoholic drinks.
One more thing. Don’t be surprised if you hear na zdrowie after someone sneezes. It’s also a common thing to say and used just as bless you is used, as it says you wish the person who sneezed not to get sick.
To see how toasting works in practice, and how it is pronounced, but also other toasting variations, watch the video.
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