Next week I’m off to a belated wake … a friend died in a foreign land last year and now we are gathering to remember him. He was a Bon viveur, more of the drink than the food, nether the less I will raise a glass to him.
I’m always at a loss for the right words; the navy had a way with toasts, but the right phrase always escapes me. Here a few of the toasts, and I wonder if anyone has any traditional / family toasts that come to mind when you are gathered together?
Royal Navy’s “…special toasts dependent on the day of the week. They are:
Sunday – “Absent Friends“
Monday – “Our Ships at Sea“
Tuesday – “Our Men“
Wednesday – “Ourselves” (as no one else is likely to be concerned for us!)
Thursday – “A Bloody War or a Sickly Season” (and a quick promotion!)
Friday – “A Willing Foe and Sea-Room“
Saturday – “Wives and Sweethearts” (may they never meet)…”
I would always try to fit the occasion, but how about:
To perfect sound!
For some: Vinyl forever!
The last of course would work for stargazers as well, asan alternative to their standard
I visited Georgia (the country) a few years ago and they have the fascinating custom that you cannot drink a glass without raising a toast, it is a matter of proper manners. So regardless of the circumstances, with each glass that is poured someone has to make a heartfelt toast. Suffice to say they are masters at delivering them, it was a pleasant experience.
I think it was in Lithuania, where my friend died, that people insisted on looking you in the eye when you took a drink. Some of check friends bang the table with the glass before raising it to their lips. In both cases there was a word, their equivalent of cheers, spoken.
Much the same in Bavaria when I worked there. Each fresh glass of beer had to be a clink and cheers.
My brother experienced a less pleasant version: He doesn’t drink much, and is affected quite badly if he drinks too much. When he visited distant family members in an Eastern European country at Christmas, the hosts, all hardened vodka drinkers, wouldn’t take no for answer. What made it worse was when, to put further pressure on him, they switched to making the toast to his wife, his children (each in turn), his brothers, the memory of our parents, etc.
From my experience, this catching of the eyes of friends before drinking is common in all of the Nordic countries.
Our social group of friends here in the UK does it too.
My first experience of Eastern European habits was morning meetings. These started with a shot of something, followed by Turkish style coffee, then more shots. The something varied from country to country, my favourite was slivovitz, but as designated driver I rarely took part in the round of toasts.
Yes, my wife insists on this (she’s from Up North)…
From my Dark Blue days, I remember the Thursday toast as a Bloody War and a Sickly Season, but I doubt any of us enunciated it that clearly, especially at the end of a meal.
One thought would be to find out what Cheers is in any language(s) connected with the deceased. Countries he worked in, countries deep in his heritage… something like that. Learning how to pronounce it correctly can also be rewarding, and appreciated by any native speakers who might be present. I once impressed some Russians by being able to say Hа здоровье fairly correctly.
And they say ‘what kills you in the evening cures you in the morning’.
If I may say it was an excellent wake for mate: 8 hrs in the bar. The simplest of toasts were frequent: to Kevin.
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